About 60 percent of Americans use a home water treatment unit of some sort, according to the Water Quality Association and the Environmental Protection Agency—and for good reason. Clean drinking water is an essential building block of general health.
With hundreds of pollutants in most drinking water, including lead and arsenic, finding and purchasing the best faucet water filter is one of the most important things to install in a home to improve the wellness of the residents.
While water filters are available in a variety of types, including carafes, faucet attachments, under-sink mounts, and countertop varieties, ease of use varies. A faucet attachment is usually easy to install and mounts to any standard kitchen faucet and will filter the water as the tap water flows. An under-sink model requires more installation effort with a direct hookup to the plumbing system. Meanwhile, water carafes with filters have to be refilled regularly.
When searching for the best faucet water filter for your home, bear in mind the key considerations detailed in the following sections, and check out below some of the top options on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter System
- RUNNER UP: Culligan FM-25 Faucet Mount Filter
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Waterdrop NSF Certified Basic Faucet Filter
- UPGRADE PICK: Engdenton Faucet Water Filter
- ALSO CONSIDER: Home Master HM Mini Plus Sinktop Faucet Filter
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Faucet Water Filter
Before deciding on a filter, consider some important factors that can help you make the best decision, including the type of filter, material, flow rate, and installation requirements. By understanding these features, it’s easier to decide which option would be the best faucet water filter for your home.
There is a wide range of contaminants that can be present in tap water, including pesticides, microorganisms, organic compounds, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and harmful heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic. Water contaminants vary by community, and knowledge is power. Start by researching what’s affecting your own water supply through the National Drinking Water Database created by the Environmental Working Group.
- Chlorine and chloramine are two common substances used to disinfect public water supplies. They help to make the water safe to drink, but if the levels of chlorine and chloramine are too high, they can cause eye and nose irritation, as well as stomach discomfort. Due to their use in water treatment, these contaminants can be found in the drinking water of most communities.
- Fluoride is another chemical that some municipalities choose to add to the drinking water because fluoride, in small amounts, may be good for dental health. However, if the level of fluoride increases, it can actually cause pitting and staining of tooth enamel or even bone issues in adults that have experienced long-term exposure. Naturally occurring fluoride can also sometimes be found in groundwater sources in the western United States and around the Great Lakes regions.
- Lead leaches into the water through the public water supply when aging pipes begin to corrode. This is a common contaminant across the country because lead pipes were a popular choice for city infrastructures before science caught up with innovation and it was discovered that lead is a toxic chemical that can cause neurological damage, impaired formation of blood cells, and impaired function of blood cells.
- Agricultural chemicals, like herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides are used in rural communities to protect crops. However, these chemicals can seep into the groundwater, contaminating nearby wells. Contaminated well water can cause headaches, skin rash, eye irritation, cancer, endocrine disruption, and birth defects.
- Industrial chemicals are known for producing harmful runoff that can contaminate nearby well water systems and groundwater. Those who have wells should consider the possibility of contamination, especially if there is an industrial processing facility nearby. Contaminated well water can cause skin discoloration, nervous system damage, organ failure, developmental delays, birth defects, and reproductive issues.
Always check to make sure the filtration system can take care of the contaminants you’re most concerned about. Regardless of which microscopic contaminants they’re best at keeping out of drinking water, faucet-mounted filters considerably improve the taste of H2O.
- Reverse osmosis filters are the most effective option for treating home water because these systems can use more than seven different filters to remove up to 99 percent of contaminants. However, these systems are not made to be mounted to a faucet. Connect reverse osmosis filters directly to the incoming water supply.
- Carbon filters are commonly used in faucet-mounted products. These filters absorb and release water, trapping chlorine, pesticides, and solvents within the carbon. They aren’t as effective at removing nitrates and sodium.
- Ultraviolet filters are another type of filter that doesn’t attach to the faucet. However, connecting one of these filtration systems to the incoming water source is a good idea. The ultraviolet rays kill bacteria, parasites, and viruses. These filters are essentially useless at filtering mineral contaminants, so it’s advised to pair this system with a reverse osmosis system.
Faucet water filters are typically made with either plastic or stainless steel. Some manufacturers may offer a range of different finishes, but these are usually stainless steel filters that have metal plating over the original material just to give it a different look. So the decision comes down to plastic or stainless steel.
- Plastic faucet water filters are inexpensive and resistant to corrosion and rusting. Some products are thick and durable, but the average plastic filter will need to be replaced more frequently than stainless steel filters because they don’t have the same resilience.
- Stainless steel faucet water filters cost a bit more initially, but last longer and tend to do a better job, with fewer leaks. These filters can also blend in with the faucet and sink to match the kitchen aesthetics.
Flow rate refers to the amount of water that flows through the filter within a set time period and it’s typically measured in gallons per minute (GPM). Whole-home water filters must be capable of filtering many gallons of water per minute since most showers and dishwashers can use up to 5 GPM.
However, faucet water filters don’t have the same water pressure demands. Most of these smaller filters have a set flow rate of 0.5 GPM with very few exceptions. This is about enough to fill up seven or eight standard glasses of water in 1 minute.
Filter Life and Usage
The filter life is typically indicated in the product information or on the manufacturer’s website. After this time period, the filter becomes less effective until it does very little except get in the way of regular faucet use. However, the total life of one filter can differ significantly from other, even identical products. This is due to usage.
Filter life is tied directly to usage. When the faucet is left running, it wastes water and also reduces the filter life, forcing the user to replace the filter cartridge at a higher frequency. By using the filter only for drinking water or cooking water, you can extend the life of the filter, saving time and money.
When the filter starts to lose its effectiveness, the entire faucet-mounted filter does not need to be replaced. Simply remove the filter cartridge and replace it with a new cartridge. Most manufacturers also produce cartridge replacements, so it’s easy to find a compatible option.
These cartridges typically have a lifespan measured in gallons of water that can range from 100 to 1,000 gallons, depending on the product. After a certain amount of water has been filtered through the cartridge, it begins to lose effectiveness. Some filters also come with cartridge replacement recommendations from 1 month to 3 months so that it’s not necessary to try and measure the amount of water flowing through the filter.
Style and Finish
Most faucet water filters have a plastic or a stainless steel design, but this doesn’t prevent manufacturers from adding additional color options and metal finishes, giving options to match the aesthetics of a home.
- Plastic filters can theoretically have a wide range of color choices because plastic is simple to dye during the manufacturing process. However, most producers offer standard kitchen and bathroom colors like black, gray, and white.
- Stainless steel filters have a sleek appearance already, but if the kitchen has bronze, copper, brushed gold, or any other common metal finishes, then finding a faucet water filter that matches may be an ideal solution. The number of finishes available for a specific product depends on the manufacturer. Some producers prefer to only make stainless steel and chrome-plated products.
After sorting through the nitty-gritty details of filter types, filter materials, flow rate, and filter cartridges, there are just a few more things to consider before deciding on the best faucet water filter. The filter size, the filter change sensor, and the replacement filter cartridges also can affect the decision on the best filter.
- Filter size is key for people who have smaller sink areas. Oversize filters may not fit properly and could cause problems. Even with a larger sink space, some filters can look out of place simply because they dwarf the faucet. Keep in mind the scale of a sink and faucet when choosing a faucet water filter, and invest in an adaptor if necessary.
- Filter change sensors notify the user when the filter cartridge needs to be replaced. This is typically indicated by a small light on the side of the filter that can either activate when the filter needs an immediate cartridge change or a few weeks prior, giving time to get a new cartridge before the old one is rendered useless.
- Replacement filter cartridges come in a range of different types. Costs can vary depending on the manufacturer. Look for the appropriate cartridge for a faucet water filter by checking the product information and the manufacturer’s website.
A faucet-mount attachment generally offers a quick installation. Unscrew the aerator and then swap in an adapter provided with the faucet-mount water filter. Models often include multiple sizes to offer options that may best fit a faucet. The body of the faucet-mount filter snaps into place.
Manufacturer instructions will cover how to check that the filter inside the model is good to go. It only takes a matter of minutes to get the best faucet water filters fully functional. Once installed, many offer the option to toggle between filtered and unfiltered water.
Our Top Picks
The top picks described here were selected based on the above criteria and considerations, with significant attention given to efficacy and overall value. These products are considered to be among the best faucet water filters on the market.
This Brita faucet water filter has a basic white plastic design that’s resistant to corrosion and rusting. It has a 0.5 GPM flow rate, and it uses an activated carbon filter cartridge that lasts for up to 4 months or up to 100 gallons of water. The filter works with standard kitchen faucets, but it cannot connect to pull-out or spray-style faucets.
The no-tools-required assembly of the popular Brita faucet water filter makes it a perennial favorite. Highly effective at removing lead and chlorine, the Brita faucet water filter improves water’s taste, odor, and clarity. Since a filter does no good without regular replacement, it has a green light to indicate when the filter cartridge needs to be replaced.
The Culligan has a sleek chrome-plated finish with stainless steel construction that can operate at a flow rate of up to 0.5 GPM. The filter cartridge lasts for about 2 months or 200 gallons, depending on the water usage. The carbon block cartridge reduces atrazine, chlorine, lindane, lead, turbidity, and bad tastes, making drinking water safer for the entire family.
Its durability, straightforward installation, and ease of use earn the Culligan high marks. If the goal isn’t the appearance, but high performance above all other concerns, then this may be the right choice. However, while this faucet water filter does fit most faucet types, it isn’t compatible with drop-down faucets.
The well-priced Waterdrop faucet water filter is made with an activated carbon filter cartridge to remove lead, chlorine, and other contaminants from the water. Each filter cartridge lasts for up to 3 months or 320 gallons of water. This faucet water filter has a maximum flow rate of 0.5 GPM and corrosion-resistant plastic construction.
This inexpensive filter has a white plastic exterior with plastic chrome fitting that can accent existing stainless steel or chrome plumbing. It’s compatible with standard kitchen faucets and requires no tools to install. However, this filter won’t connect to pull-out or handheld faucets, including sprayer hoses.
Stainless steel faucet water filters tend to be more durable than plastic filters, and this filter is a particularly good choice due to its high-quality stainless steel housing that is designed to be crack-proof, preventing leaks. It’s equipped with an activated carbon filter that reduces chlorine, lead, sand, rust, and inhibits the growth of bacteria in the water.
This filter has a 0.5 GPM flow rate that can fill about seven or eight standard-size glasses in about 1 minute. It can swivel 360 degrees, allowing the user to get filtered water in any direction, including using the filter upside down like a drinking fountain. The filter cartridge lasts for about 3 months or until 320 gallons of water has been filtered through the cartridge.
Those with lead water lines may want to invest in a filter like this Home Master faucet water filter that can remove up to 99 percent of lead from the drinking water. It can also remove cryptosporidium and giardia cysts, sediment, chlorine, and agricultural and industrial runoff. The carbon filter cartridge has a long life, lasting for up to 1 year or 750 gallons of water, depending on which comes first.
The faucet water filter also improves the taste and odor of the water and has a maximum flow rate of 0.5 GPM. It’s made of corrosion-resistant plastic and has two long tubes to run from the sink to the filter and back to the sink for low profile use that doesn’t stick out in the kitchen.
FAQs About Faucet Water Filters
If you’d still like more information about what type of tap filter is best, or if you aren’t quite sure exactly how to connect the faucet water filter system, then read on to learn the answers to these concerns and other commonly asked questions.
Q. Should tap water be filtered?
Whether tap water should be filtered or not is a matter of personal discretion. Filtering tap water helps to remove contaminants from the water and it can improve the taste, though filters do have cartridges that need to be changed regularly to remain effective.
Q. Are faucet filters better than pitchers?
Faucet filters and pitcher filters are similar in filtration capability, so the decision comes down to a few key features. Faucet filters attach to the faucet, giving an essentially unlimited supply of filtered water, though they can get in the way of regular faucet use. Pitcher filters need to be filled regularly, but the water can be kept cold in the fridge or set out on a table or a counter for easy access.
Q. Which water filter removes the most contaminants?
Reverse osmosis systems are generally the most effective type of water filter. They can include more than seven filtration stages and use a reverse osmosis process that allows them to remove 99 percent of contaminants from the water, including chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, and herbicides.
Q. Can a faucet water filter be taken with me if I move to a new house?
Faucet-mount filters can typically be removed from the faucet, so you can take them with you to a new home.
Q. Can a faucet water filter be connected to a fridge?
A faucet water filter isn’t designed to connect to a fridge, but it is possible to connect some water purifier systems directly to a fridge. This depends on the specific water purifier and the fridge.
Q. How long do faucet water filters last?
Faucet water filter cartridges should be replaced every 2 to 3 months to ensure that the drinking water is properly cleaned when passing through the water filtration system. Faucet-mount filters can last up to 4 years if properly maintained.
Whether the faucet water filter is for removing pollutants from the water or simply to improve the taste, it’s important to invest in a durable product with replaceable filter cartridges that are relatively easy to change. These products can remove lead, chlorine, fluoride, and they can even be used to filter well water. Consider the type of filter, the flow rate, and the material when deciding on the best faucet water filter for your home.