The Best Whole House Water Filters for City Water

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

Probably not!

Glass of water

Are you concerned about:

  • chlorine or fluoride in your tap 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?

Have you noticed a decrease in the water flow rate in your home?

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

Our Recommendations

If you want to compare our recommendations for top-rated whole house water filter 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 water filtration systems for well water or well water iron filters.

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

ProductTop FeaturesLearn More or Buy
Springwell Whole House Filter
Springwell Whole House Filter System


  • 1,000,000 gallon capacity

  • 6 month money back guarantee

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Multiple sizes available

  • Add-ons available

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Pelican Whole House Water Filter System
Pelican Whole House Filter System

  • 600,000 gallon capacity

  • 90 day money back guarantee

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Multiple sizes available

  • Add-ons available

💲 💲 💲
On Sale Now!
Save an EXTRA 3% with code "RO3"


Aquasana Rhino Whole House Filter Pro
Aquasana Rhino 1,000,000 Gallon

  • 1,000,000 gallon capacity

  • 90 day money back guarantee

  • 6 Year limited lifetime warranty

  • Add-ons available


💲 💲 💲
Save 50% with code "AQRO50"


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

  • 1,000,000 - 1,500,000 gallon capacity

  • 60 day money back guarantee

  • 5/10 Year limited warranty

  • Multiple sizes available

  • The most add-ons available

What is a Whole House Water Filter?

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

These whole house 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 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 tap water will prove exactly what contaminants you should target. Even without a detailed water test, any of the issues above could be improved with one of the whole home 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 filtration 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 whole house filter for everyone but there will be a best water filtration system for your home based on your tap 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 home water filter system will first remove sediment, sand, silt, and clay with a sediment pre-filter. 

Next, it will remove the most common water contaminants like heavy metals and organic contaminants including chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, pesticides and herbicides with a series of carbon filters, and other technologies described below.

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

Then the filtered water will move on to all of the points of use in your whole house.

These whole house water filtration 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 the best whole home water filters on this page.

Water Softener

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 your water supply.

These minerals are collectively called “hardness” and they bind together and create scale – a whitish buildup on faucets and inside of pipes and appliances. Scale will decrease your water pressure, lower the water flow rate, and damage appliances.

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

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

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

Whole House Reverse Osmosis

If you want to know which whole home water filter removes the most contaminants everywhere in your whole house, there is no better way than with a whole house reverse osmosis water filtration system.

A reverse osmosis water filter (RO system) 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, pure whole house water.

Compared to the water filtering systems on this page, RO systems are more expensive to purchase and maintain.

You can learn more about reverse osmosis whole house water filters on our reverse osmosis water filtration page.

Best Water Filtration Systems

Your city water supply is filtered and cleaned before it reached your home, 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 of all tap water.

In many cases, tap 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 shower steam.

Each of the filtration systems below represent a trusted brand of whole house water filters 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 whole house water filters at the top of the page.

SpringWell Whole House Water Filter System

Springwell Whole House Water Filter System
Springwell Whole House Water Filter System

The SpringWell home water filtration system is the perfect solution for whole house filtration of municipal 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 filter 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 Springwell 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.

And don’t forget that they have a satisfaction guarantee and the longest money back guarantee of any whole house filter system at 6 months!

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.

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

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Springwell Whole House Water Filters 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 in this whole house water filtration system:

  • 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 money back guarantee
  • A 5-year performance guarantee to reduce chlorine and chloramine
  • A limited lifetime warranty on tanks and parts

Pentair-Pelican Water is a well-known brand and reliable source for whole home water filters. 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 installation kit and are they provide a no-hassle return policy, lifetime warranties, free shipping, an initial money back guarantee, and water specialists that are available to provide expert support throughout the research and buying process.

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

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Pentair-Pelican Whole House Water Filters 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 home filters and you can find them in a variety of different configurations, depending on the needs of your water.

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.

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

Pre and post filter replacement is easy to do on a schedule to maintain the best filtration and water flow rate.

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

This whole home water filter 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 filtration 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 filter), 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 block filter 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 whole home water filtering system is a great choice if you want a complete solution for your water filtration or need to customize for unique water problems.

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

FilterWater Whole House Water Filters 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 whole house water filtration system has the same great features and performance as their larger systems but fits it into an 11-stage, 350,000 gallon filter capacity package for smaller homes.

Similar to the stages listed above, this 11 stage filter system works to remove most contaminants from your water supply:

  • 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 filter 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 block filter 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 whole home water filters help to reduce chlorine taste and odor, corrosion, sand, sediment, silt, and turbidity with a tank of carbon filter media good for 5-7 years.

This whole house system is designed for a household of 1-6 people and it can be used on its own or in combination with other, specialized filters to suit your needs.

The whole house filtration system includes:

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

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.

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 3 stage whole house filtration system for municipal water and will remove:

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

The three filter housing 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 filter will remove chemicals, soluble heavy metals lead, mercury and copper, tastes and odors. It will also remove iron to 1ppm.

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

Home Master has been making advanced whole home 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.

Compare the Top Water Filters for City Water

On Sale!
Springwell Whole House Filter
On Sale!
Pelican Whole House Water Filter System
On Sale!
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"
-
-
On Sale!
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"
On Sale!
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"
On Sale!
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
-

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 Choose the Best 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 whole 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 a filtration system 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 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 Filters

Here are some of the most common contaminants found in the U.S. drinking water supply that could and should be removed with a water filtration system:

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 before the water moves on to other filters. This can be beneficial with any water source since sediment will shorten the filter life of the more precise filters in a system and decrease the flow rate in many of the water use points in your home.

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 and improve your water pressure and flow rate as well as extend the filter life of other stages.

Rust

Brown, red, or yellow colored water can be a sign of rust. 

This is most often caused by iron and manganese in the water supply. 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.

Rust is a more common problem in well water and a whole home iron filter can be added to most whole house filters.

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.

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.

Sulfur is another problem that is more common in well water.

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.

Excessive iron will also damage appliances and decrease the filter life of other stages in your filtration system.

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.

The carbon filter stages included in every multi stage whole house water filter will help remove chlorine, improve the water quality, and provide peace of mind.

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

UV filtration is usually not necessary with municipal water, but a water test will tell you for sure.

Whole House 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!

In any case, be sure to think about the size of your home and number of people that regularly live there.

Systems are sized to have a flow rate (in GPM or gallons per minute) to match the needs of your home. Be sure to round up a little bit so that you don’t experience a drop in flow rate or problems with water pressure when you have guests in your home.

How much does it cost to install a whole house water filtration system?

It really depends.

A simple 3 stage whole house filter will cost less than one thousand dollars.

As you increase the flow rate, complexity, or filter stages, the price will increase into the thousands of dollars. However, if the water quality in your home is toxic or dangerous, then you need to consider the total cost of the health consequences to your family.

Filter System Maintenance

Most whole home water filter systems, regardless of the type, have simple maintenance to follow mainly with filter changes.

Anything with a filter in a multi stage whole house water filtration system will need to be periodically cleaned or replaced. The manufacturer’s instructions will make recommendations about how often to check and which replacement filters you will need.

While it may seem like a waste of money to perform filter changes 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 whole home water filter systems… If you don’t keep an eye on the recommended filter life and neglect to install a replacement filter when needed, your whole home water filter will stop cleaning the water and your family will be back to drinking the unfiltered contaminants you set out to remove!

Without regular replacement filters, you could also experience a drop in water pressure, flow rate, or an increase in color and odors.

Pre and post filters require the most filter changes.

While the manufacturer’s recommendations for filter changes 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.

The pre-sediment filter, carbon block filter (and other carbon filters) are the stages that most often need filter replacement.

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 under sink 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 combine a specific whole home filter like a water softening system or an iron filter (if those are problems for you) with a reverse osmosis system just in the kitchen.

Together, they will provide peace of mind that you have great water quality at each point of use.

Water Filtration Terms and FAQ

What is GPD?

GPD stands for “gallons per day.” Whole home water filters are often rated based on how many gallons they can filter per day (or gallons per minute – “GPM”) in ideal conditions. While not perfect, it is a good way to compare the water flow rate 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 a multi stage water filter works together to remove multiple contaminants.

A polypropylene sediment filter will remove large sediment and is an important part of any multi stage whole house water filter system. The sediment filter protects the rest of the system (and your home) from large particles and will help to extend the filter life of other stages.

Carbon filters, coconut carbon filters, or coconut shell carbon media are all names for carbon filters that are good at removing other larger contaminants like heavy metals.

Every one of our recommended whole house water systems are a multi stage water filter to ensure that the water quality is improved as much as possible.

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.

NSF International Certification

NSF International provides NSF/ANSI certification for manufacturers that want to prove that their water filtration system complies with the technical requirements of the standard, usually for removal of specific contaminants.

For the whole home water filter manufacturer, this is a long and expensive process (which is why more countertop filter systems are not NSF certified). The system must be initially reviewed, tested to comply with the published standard, and approved. Then, there will be follow up inspections and testing in the future to ensure all compliance items are still met.

Water Quality Association (WQA) Certification

WQA (the Water Quality Association) provides certified listings that prove products have been tested and approved to comply with their stated claims.

Many whole home water filter systems will have this certification to prove that contaminants are removed as claimed by the manufacturer.

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 Filter

 
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 Home Filtration Systems

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

The brands recommended above 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 right whole house water filtration system for your home.

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

Ready for Cleaner, Healthier Water?

You and your family can make a big improvement in your health and well-being by installing one of the top whole house water filter systems. You can have peace of mind 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.