So what is a water filter and why do you need one?
Water filters are exactly what they say they are – appliances that help you maintain higher levels of purity in water and give you healthier, contamination-free water. Many researches have shown that drinking or using unfiltered water at home for cooking can be risky, especially for those with weaker immune systems. Water filters have been known to reduce the risk of rectal cancer, colon cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, and bladder cancer. And it’s always better to be safe than sorry, as the world’s pollution rates keep increasing year by year.
When it comes to any appliance or product, there are a few things that you need to keep an eye out for. Some of them are listed below to help you find the water filter that best fits to your needs.
Why choose a countertop water filter and what are its best features?
There are two main reasons why most people prefer to opt for a countertop water filter, rather than a bigger model. Firstly, they are more compact in style and design, making them perfect for those areas where space is limited or smaller kitchen areas that cannot house another large and bulky appliance. If, however, you use a lot of water for cooking, you may want to opt for a water dispenser which will ensure you have water instantly without the need to spend time on filtering. Some of the best bottom loading water dispensers have a smaller footprint compared to top loading models and are a handy solution. Another alternative here is an under sink water filter, in case you have enough space in your kitchen cabinet.
Secondly, if you are traveling regularly yet still want to be able to access good quality and filtered water, you will want to take your water filter with you on your journey. Therefore, if you have purchased a countertop water filter, it’s more likely to be the ideal fit for your bag or luggage, and will allow you not just to transport it with ease, but ultimately set it up in an instant at the other end.
The most commonly used types of water filters in households are faucet style filters and pitcher style filters. For example, the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher is a smaller pitcher water filter whereas the CleanWater4Less countertop water filter is a larger faucet water filter. The main difference lies in the pricing and the need for replacement of the filters. Pitcher filters are cheaper, but require more replacements, while faucet filters can be an expensive investment.
One of the most essential things to check is what material your water filter is made of. Plastics are inevitable and BPA materials can be leaked into containers with the water. BPA-free water filters like the Brita Large 18 Cup UltraMax Fileterd Water Dispenser are recommended for those worried about chemicals leaking into your drinking or cooking water. Some people may find the idea of having a plastic water filter a little ironic, considering that part of the concept of such a product is to eliminate plastic waste. However, make sure you look closely at the materials section of each product and ensure that it clearly states BPA-free, like those recommended above do.
Ease of use
The convenience of installation and usage depends on the type of water filter you’re using. Most countertop faucet filters require professional help for fittings, but some of them, like the Travel Berkey water filter, are very easy to use and install. Pitcher water filters are even easier to use, as instructions come with the boxes themselves.
Depending on the size of your family, you may need a larger filter capacity in your water filter.
The larger the filter capacity, the longer it will last you before you need to replace it.
If you live alone, the pH RESTORE Alkaline Water Pitcher Ionizer with a filter capacity of 96 gallons can be your pick. If you have a larger family, then the AquaTru Countertop Water Filter Purification System can work well with its near 8,000-gallon filter capacity.
Replacements for your filter
Equally important when looking at making an initial purchase of a filter is how easily obtainable any additional filters will be to purchase, alongside an estimated guide of what you may be looking at spending on such extra items. The pH RESTORE Alkaline Water Pitcher Ionizer, for example, comes complete with an additional two life-long filters as part of the overall filter purchase, meaning you may not need to make such a purchase for some time to come. However, it’s best practice to look at the cost and availability of the necessary filters for your model beforehand, to ensure you will be able to replace them immediately, should the need arise.
Warranties and aftercare for your filter
A large number of filters now automatically offer warranties such as 30-day returns and exchange periods when you make your purchase. However, it’s a good idea to not only look out for those models that do offer such a deal, but also those that provide ongoing aftercare, or even an extended guarantee, should something go wrong or need replacing once your filter is installed.
Additionally, if you can find a filter which has a fantastic aftercare service, all the better. A great example here is the New Wave Enviro Water Filter System which offers a one-year warranty against machine and craftsmanship defects, ensuring you’re fully covered should the filter stop working or break through no fault of your own.
Quality of water
The biggest question that comes to mind when discussing water filters would be “How clean is the water I’ll be drinking/using?” This comes to down what filters each water filter is using. Most often people ask for extraction of/purity from pollutants, or reduction of certain element levels such as fluoride, copper and other heavy metal ions.
Make sure to check out the filter section of each water filter to know what minerals will and won’t be filtered, as some will have chlorine – but not fluoride – filters, and vice versa, which can be tricky to the eye of the customer.
Taste of filtered water
Although it may not be a big deal for many, the taste of the water can often be the deal breaker in choosing the right water filter. Some may have more chlorine taste, while others may be completely odorless and tasteless. It depends on what taste you prefer, so make sure to try out filtered water when going through stores.
It’s also a good idea to take a little time to read through customer reviews on each filter you look at, to get an overall picture of what other people are experiencing tastewise with each filter. Some state no difference in taste, but many people find there is a significant difference in the taste of filtered water which, although great, can take a bit of getting used to for some people.
The appearance of your filter
Though this may not be a factor high on the list when searching for the best filter, for some people having this item out on display every day of the week means you will need to become accustomed not just to using it, but also concerning its visual aspect! With so many of us color-coordinating most appliances and items in our kitchen, it’s completely understandable that many of us will want to apply this to the filter we intend to purchase. Yet, as you may be able to tell from any small amount of research you’ve already done, as well as from the above list, these countertop water filters aren’t always the most attractive of products! In many cases, they are unlikely to match with the items you already have on display.
Added to this, there is also a large selection of filter sizes and shapes to consider. For example, the AquaTru Countertop Water Filter Purification System is a rather large, bulkier style of filter, the CleanWater4Less® Countertop Water Filtration System looks somewhat like a large flask, and the Ecosoft Countertop Drinking Water Filter System resembles a rather odd-shaped kitchen sink attachment indeed! For some people, such considerations can determine or limit the types they’re looking at, if a particular shape or design to fit in a specific area of the kitchen is required.
How easy are faucet water filters to install?
Many people worry that when they purchase a faucet water filter, it may be a rather complicated and long-winded process, with some being put off by this factor. However, installing a faucet water filter is easier than you think and is undoubtedly one of the simpler jobs when purchasing such a product.
As you can see for yourself when reading the above reviews, filters that require such an installation are quick and simple, and need no additional tools or plumbing knowledge. In fact, this is often one of the biggest advantages for people that want to travel and attach their filter wherever they stop on their journey.
A quick six-step guide to the installing process
Though each filter will come with its own set of instructions on how to get your filter up and running, this is a quick six-step process for those faucet water filters:
- Switch off the water supply using the shut-off valve
- Remove the faucet aerator
- Clean the threads from the faucet
- Assemble the filter
- Attach the filter to the faucet
- Continue with the remainder of the filter set up