Which Water Filter Pitcher Removes the Most Contaminants

You can buy an average water filter pitcher for a little less than thirty bucks.

Water filter pitchers at this price range filter out a significant part of the contaminants in the water. But they may also leave many contaminants behind, like viruses and harmful bacteria.

Luckily, this is not always the case. If you pick the right water filter pitcher, you can still get more-than-decent filtration and prevent unwanted contaminants from reaching your body.

For that, you’ll have to learn what makes a water filter pitcher a great choice. Here, we want to show you that in a few steps.

1.   Consider the Type of Filter

Most water filter pitchers come with cartridges made from activated carbon and ion exchange resin. For the most part, these water filters do a decent job at filtering out pollutants in the water.

They work together rather well, removing up to 90% of all metals, chemicals, and organic compounds. Given the water you’re filtrating comes from treated sources, this type of system would be more than enough.

Water Filter Pitcher

But while both are decent, they may not be the best. In case the water is not filtered beforehand, water filter pitches with CAG and ion-exchange systems may still leave bacteria, viruses, nitrates, and dissolved minerals pass through. Thus, they end up not being so reliable.

That’s why you should instead go for Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters if possible. These systems boast sufficiently advanced technology to remove metals, herbicides, pesticides, chemicals, hormones, chlorine, and typical sediments.

Now, how do you know if your filter can offer this advantage? You check the pore size.

Importance of Pore Size

To put it in shorter words, the type of filter mainly changes WHERE the water goes through to be filtered. And the effectiveness of the filtration falls on how tiny the pores of the filtering system are.

The size of the pores is measured in microns. A lower micron size (0.01 micron) would be much tinier than a high micron size (50 microns).

Here, you will find that carbon filters have micron ranges going from 0.5 up to 50 microns. Meanwhile, reverse osmosis systems have micron sizes of as little as 0.001 and as high as 0.1 microns.

Here’s a list of micron sizes per contaminant to consider:

  • Sediment (sand, dust, and dirt): 0.5 to 100 microns
  • Chemicals (chlorine, herbicides, and pesticides): 0.001 to 0.5 microns
  • Metals (lead, iron, copper, and mercury): 0.1 to 10 microns
  • Organic compounds (VOCs): 0.5 to 2 microns
  • Bacteria and viruses: 0.005 to 0.3 microns

To make sure you’re getting a water filter pitcher that removes most of these contaminants, you need to be sure it offers low microns. Otherwise, you may leave a lot of those pollutants to pass through.

2.   Number of Stages and Time to Filter

Another way to figure out which filter will work better for you is by checking how many stages it has and how much time it takes to filter.

Stages simply refer to how many filters it has. Most multi-stage pitchers come with at least two stages: carbon and ion exchange. That would be enough to remove most contaminants.

But in case you can find pitchers with three or four stages, that would be a HUGE improvement. These will likely remove many other contaminants that two-stage filters wouldn’t.

Having said that, multi-stage filters take a lot longer to clean the water. It’s obvious, given the water has to go through more media.

A water filter pitcher should take no less than 30 minutes to filter a gallon of water as a general rule. You may find models that take 1 hour. And with multi-stage pitchers boasting a reverse osmosis system, you can expect up to 4 hours to receive filtered water.

That may feel like a tremendous amount of time to wait, but it comes with an advantage: water will be much cleaner, so you can enjoy it with fewer worries.

3.   Certifications and Tests

If you want to be sure that a water filter pitcher removes what it claims to remove, you should look for NSF/ANSI certifications.

These safety standards from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) will tell you whether the pitcher is indeed helpful. With a standard NSF/ANSI 53, for example, you can be sure it will reduce contaminants. An NSF/ANSI 42 standard, on the other hand, tells whether it’s deemed safe to use with drinkable water.

As an extra test measure for quality, you can look for filters that have passed EPA guidelines. These say that any pitcher needs to remove at least 90% of all the contaminants it claims. Having an EPA sign of approval would be a great thing to have as well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to tell if a water filter pitcher is better than another?

First, look for certification marks on the product packaging. They should say what contaminants it is CERTIFIED to remove. If the certifications don’t say this, either stay away or proceed at your own risk.

Next, make water filter pitcher water comparisons. Many water filter pitchers should have a printout of water test results on the packaging or included them with the water pitcher itself. These are great to look at so you can compare their results before buying.

And lastly, check the micron size. You should always go for the pitcher to clean low-micron contaminants that are often harder to remove (like viruses).

Is drinking water from a water filter pitcher safe?

Yes, water filter pitchers are safe to drink water from. As long as the pitcher removes a significant part of the contaminants, there’s nothing to worry about.

Is bottled water better than water in my water filter pitcher?

Well, if both have the same levels of contaminants, then yes.

If your water has more contaminants than what is allowed by the FDA per liter, then bottled water is probably a better choice. Bottled water companies must submit data to show how clean their water is, and this information is available online for the public.

But if the water has previously gone through treatment and it’s deemed safe for consumption, passing it through a water filter pitcher should make it even more drinkable.

What Water Filter Pitcher to Go For?

So, what water filter pitcher are you choosing?

Our top choice would be a reverse osmosis (RO) system. Their effectiveness is unbeatable at removing contaminants. If you want to be sure, this would be the best choice.

But to really make sure it is the right filter, however, follow the certifications and tests. Don’t overlook carbon and ion-exchange pitchers with low micron ranges. With sufficiently well-treated water, any water filter pitcher that cleans superficial pollutants may be enough for you.

Just don’t spend any money unnecessarily. Check your water source first and then decide what to choose from that.