Using a water pitcher could provide significant cost-savings because you’re eliminating bottled water purchases to have access to chilled (if stored in the fridge) and occasionally filtered water. Choose one with a long-lasting filter, and you can also save time and money from continually replacing the filter.
Water pitchers differ in design, filtration system, durability, cost, and amount of water each can hold. This guide explains features to consider when selecting the best water pitcher.
- BEST OVERALL: Waterdrop Chubby 10-Cup Water Filter Pitcher
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Nakii Water Filter Pitcher
- UPGRADE PICK: Brita Monterey, 10 Cup
- BEST SMALL SIZE: ZeroWater ZP-006-4, 6 Cup Water Filter Pitcher
- BEST LARGE SIZE: PUR PPT111W Ultimate Filtration Water Filter Pitcher
- BEST NON-PLASTIC: Glass Water Pitcher by Pykal
- ALSO CONSIDER: Bormioli Rocco Hermetic Seal Glass Pitcher With Lid
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Water Pitcher
It can be tempting to select a water pitcher on price alone. However, there are other factors to consider. If the water pitcher is a high-use item, you may want a design featuring high-quality material and a long-lasting filter with a filtration system that removes chemicals, contaminants, and dirt with ease. You should also take into account that the product complies with various industry-standard certifications. Additionally, consider where you will store it, as limited kitchen or refrigerator spaces may require smaller pitchers. Finally, pay attention to the style, including the pitcher’s lid and handle, as pour spouts, refill openings, and nonslip grips can enhance your convenience when serving. Here are some details to think about when picking the best water pitcher.
The phrase “built to last” is not limited to large purchases, and it is also worth considering when buying a water pitcher. Without understanding the quality of the pitcher’s material, you may end up getting less than you paid for with your new purchase. Typically, plastic is used to construct water pitchers. When it comes to plastic, buyers should select pitchers free of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound that is harmful to health. There are also glass pitchers available.
Filtered vs. Unfiltered
Filling a glass with tap water might bring uncertainty to some. Despite government regulation, sources of public water may contain disease-causing contaminants that sometimes remain after being treated. A filtered water pitcher may help reduce this concern.
If you live in an area with hard water or you don’t like the taste of what comes from your tap, the filter’s quality is a significant consideration in purchasing the best water filter for your kitchen. Most water filters remove contaminants that leave a bad taste, like chlorine, and reduce heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, copper, and aluminum. The right water filter will remove residue to provide clean, great-tasting water without the grit.
Pay attention to how many contaminants the filter captures and how many layers of filtration the water flows through before reaching your glass. The only drawback to a multitiered filtration is it may take longer to process and enjoy your filtered water. When researching water filter pitchers, also consider the number of gallons of water that can pass through a filter before you need to replace.
There are also three certifications in the water treatment device industry that consumers should be familiar with when buying water filters for their homes:
- The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) Water Treatment Device Certification Program provides assurances to consumers that devices meet the design, material, and performance requirements of national standards.
- The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent, accredited testing organization that certifies home water treatment units.
- The Water Quality Association (WQA) is a trade organization that tests water treatment equipment.
If water quality is not an issue, you may be interested in a temperature-safe unfiltered water pitcher. One significant advantage is that it can quickly adjust between hot and cold water without damaging the pitcher. You may also find this type of pitcher to be versatile for other types of drinks: iced teas, juices, lemonades, sangrias, and more.
A place to start when reviewing the style of a water pitcher is the lid. One customer-friendly design is a lid that includes a refill opening, which avoids removing the entire cover.
Where you plan to store the pitcher also factors into the style that is best for you. Slim designs are best suited for refrigerators where space is at a premium. If the pitcher is kept on a countertop, aesthetics may matter more. If you expect the pitcher to be as popular as an office water cooler, that may lead you to more practical style choices where bigger is better.
As heavily used and attractive as a new water pitcher may be, neither point will matter if the water you’re consuming is not purified because your filter is not working correctly and needs to be replaced. To address this, many water pitcher styles provide a built-in filter replacement reminder system.
Although a pitcher is light when empty, the pitcher’s handle is essential to the overall design when full. Here again, the style requirement and expected use of the pitcher play a part.
A wood handle offers support when moving a full water pitcher or pouring from it. It is also an aesthetic element to consider if the pitcher will be part of your kitchen design.
Plastic is by far the most common handle element. Some plastic handles are seamless, with both the top and bottom attaching to the pitcher. Others connect only at the top of the pitcher. A helpful feature in many plastic handles is a nonslip grip.
The shape of the spout is what matters in terms of water control. Some designs have a more tapered spout that delivers the water in a narrow flow. Others have more of a rounded shape that somewhat limits your control as you tip the pitcher. Another spout feature to notice is the spout lid. Some pitchers include a cover over the lid to block dust and germs from entering.
The excitement of a new water pitcher may fade if you become frustrated by constant trips to the faucet to fill it. Thus, the jug size is important to keep in mind. If your refrigerator or countertop allows, a pitcher with a larger jug size might save time on refills.
Being aware of jug size is not solely about available space in your home; it is also noteworthy because the jug size will indicate how many cups of filtered water it holds. If this will be a high- use item, then a pitcher with a large jug capacity may be a good option.
On average, jug sizes are between 10- and 11-cup capacity. This means that when the jug is filled, you may pour 10 or 11 cups of filtered water before you have to refill it.
Our Top Picks
These following water pitchers offer a variety of filtration options, water capacity per filter, and length of filter life, while also incorporating critical features identified above.
This BPA-free plastic pitcher is NSF-certified for lead-free material and a reduction in chlorine. Its seven-stage filtration system reduces arsenic, fluoride, lead, chromium, and other water contaminants. The efficient filter features silver-loaded activated carbon, which inhibits the growth of bacteria within the filter.
A unique feature is its touch-free water refill opening. When filled, the pitcher holds 10 cups of water. The long-lasting filter produces 200 gallons of purified water before it needs to be replaced. Waterdrop Chubby took the guesswork out of replacement with a built-in indicator light. One design element that may give users pause is the straight, wood handle, as most handles are curved; however, it does offer a solid grip.
Nakii has produced a water filter pitcher that is BPA-free and certified by the WQA. A covered, tapered spout and touch-free water refill area highlight the lid. Once in the chamber the water is filtered through activated carbon fiber, removing 98 percent of chlorine and mercury and reducing lead, rust, sediment, and suspended particles. A dial on the lid indicates when the filter needs to be replaced, and the pitcher features a 7½-cup capacity. While its filter life of 150 gallons is impressive, this might be the only con to this item, as competitors offer more gallons produced per filter.
The Monterey features Brita’s Longlast filter, which reduces 99 percent of lead, chlorine (which can affect taste and odor), cadmium, mercury, benzene, asbestos, and more contaminants. The patented Longlast pleated filter offers improved particle removal efficiency and extends filter life. This BPA-free and WQA-certified pitcher includes an electronic filter indicator to take the guesswork out of filter life. The ease of refill was also incorporated into the pitcher’s design, as there is no need to remove the lid to add water. A narrow, tapered spout ensures hydration lands squarely in the glass, and the pitcher’s wide plastic handle assists with its 10-cup capacity. The slight drawback is only in terms of the 120 gallons produced per filter, as competitors offer a larger capacity.
ZeroWater’s water quality meter, which measures total dissolved solids (TDS), is worth taking note of. A high concentration of TDS indicates that harmful contaminants are in the water. This pitcher removes 99.6 percent of TDS and reduces other heavy metals. Its filter’s ion exchange, which serves as a “contaminant sponge,” is part of a five-stage, NSF-certified carbon filtration system. It is the only pour-through filter NSF-certified to remove lead and chromium. While this pitcher provides 6 cups of filtered water when filled, the only limitation is the maximum 40 gallons of water produced per filter. However, it does offer a wide, nonslip grip solid handle.
The highlight of this 11 cup-capacity pitcher is its MAXION Filter Technology. This is PUR’s formula of activated carbon and ion exchange that is WQA-certified to remove 99 percent of lead, 96 percent of mercury, 92 percent of certain pesticides, and reduce chlorine (which can affect taste and odor) and other harmful contaminants that could be in your water. It also touts a tapered, covered spout, filter indicator light, easy-fill water access that does not require lid removal, and a comfort-grip handle. The variety of contaminants that are reduced in this BPA-free pitcher does offset the total gallons of filtered water produced per filter. If a high volume of water produced per filter is a factor, this may not be the pitcher for you. The PUR Ultimate Filtration Water Filter Pitcher offers 40 gallons of water with each filter, which is less than filter pitcher competitors.
Pykal makes its pitcher material the focus of this product. It uses food-grade, temperature-safe borosilicate glass, which is more resistant to thermal shock than other glass. This makes it safe for gas, electric, and ceramic stovetops. BPA-free and lead-free, the glass is strengthened through a process called annealing that heats it to high temperatures and then cools it slowly. Noteworthy features also include a snug-fitting, surgical-grade stainless steel lid that does not fall off while pouring. Additionally, an ergonomic handle helps you pour its 72-ounce liquid capacity. Although the pitcher’s mouth is not wide enough to fit your hand for cleaning, Pykal does include a free long-handle sponge.
This glass pitcher is distinguished by a lid that keeps beverages cold and fresh. Its locking, hermetic seal cover is also leak-proof and BPA-free. The wide mouth makes adding liquid, fruit, or ice simple and cleaning easy, while a narrow, tapered spout provides control for each pour.
Made in Italy, it offers a square design with a sturdy, glass handle. Its half-gallon capacity will fit the door of most refrigerators. However, if you need a pitcher for dual temperatures this is not one to consider. The Bormioli Rocco pitcher is limited to cold beverages.
FAQs About Water Pitchers
Navigate the many pitcher options on the market—unfiltered and filtered—with guidance to these most common questions.
Q. How often should I wash my water pitcher?
Refer to your users’ guide for the maintenance of a particular pitcher. The general rule is each time you change the filter, you should wash the pitcher.
Q. How do water filter pitchers work?
When you pour water into the pitcher’s top, it runs through a filtration process that removes contaminants, and then it is ready to use.
Q. What contaminants do water filter pitchers remove?
Most remove contaminants that leave a bad taste (like chlorine) and reduce heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, copper, and aluminum.
Q. How often do I have to change the filters?
Hard water may require frequent filter replacement. Another determinant is how often you use the pitcher. On average, filters are changed every two to four months.