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10 Best Tap Water Filters (2021): Reviews and Buying Guide

Nikola Gemeš

October 15, 2021
Tap Water Filters

Tap water that we drink is not what it used to be. 

The Water Quality Association and the EPA now say that 60 percent of Americans use a water-filtration unit of some sort.

We’ve all seen those bulky filter rigs with tanks, pipes, and valves. No thanks.

But can a simple tap water filter be a solution for millions of people who want clean, healthy, great-tasting water now?

More importantly, can it deal with the increasing number of contaminants in our utility water?   

You bet!

Here are the best tap water filters you can buy in 2021.

My Top 3 Picks for Best Tap water Filters in 2021 

Pur Tap Water Filters

Pur Advanced Faucet Filtration System

Overall Rating: 5/5

  • ANSI/NSF Certified for 71 Contaminants
  • 100-gallon Capacity
  • LED Filter Replacement Indicator
Waterdrop FC06 Tap Water Filters

Waterdrop WD-FC-06 Water Filter

Overall Rating: 4/5

  • ANSI/NSF Certified for 60 Contaminants
  • 320-gallon Capacity
  • Stainless Steel Housing
Brita Tap Water Filters

Brita Tap Water Filter System

Overall Rating: 4/5

  • ANSI/NSF Certified for 60 Contaminants
  • 100-gallon Capacity
  • Removes 99% Lead and Asbestos

10 Best Tap Water Filters (2021): Reviews 

1. Pur Advanced Faucet Filtration System — Best Filtration Power

Filtration capacity: 100 gallons| Flow rate: 0.52 GPM | NSF Certification: Yes | Material: Plastic (Chrome Plating)

The Pur Advanced Faucet Filtration System is my tap filter of choice. It is ANSI/NSF certified to remove a whopping 71 contaminants including lead, mercury, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as a range of pesticides and industrial chemicals. 

Unlike any other tap water filter in this list, the Pur also filters many of the so-called emerging compounds that EPA keeps warning about. These include pharmaceuticals, BPA, and estrone, a form of human estrogen.  

The Pur Advanced easily installs on a standard faucet but won’t work on faucets with pull-out sprayers. This is something that stands for all tap-mounts. 

Those 100 gallons of what the filter lasts might seem bad in comparison with other filters. 

But in my opinion, that’s the price of top-level filtration. I’d rather replace the filter more often than drink pesticides and antibiotic residues. 

How about you? 

Pros

  • Filters 71 contaminants
  • Tool-free installation
  • LED filter replacement indicator
  • Handy filtered/unfiltered lever switch
  • Recyclable through with the manufacturer

Cons

  • Capacity of only 100 gallons
  • Reports of decreased flow over time
  • Plastic body
drinking water icon

Why Do I Like It?

The Pur Advanced lets me use Pur MineralClear filters that use calcium carbonate filters to add a great mineral flavor back to filtered water.

2. Waterdrop WD-FC-06 Faucet Water Filter — Runner Up                  

Filtration capacity: 320 gallons | Flow rate: 0.5 GPM| NSF Certification: Yes| Material: Stainless Steel

Another easy-to-install tap water filter, the Waterdrop WD-FC-06 uses an activated carbon filter to remove lead, chlorine, and fluoride, and improve the taste of your tap water.

On the outside, this filter isn’t much different than Pur and Brita, but there’s one big difference.

The Waterdrop comes with a stainless steel case, which is more resistant to everyday wear and tear.

Like the other tap water filters in the premium range, the WD-FC-06 has a convenient swivel switch that lets you choose between filtered and unfiltered tap water.

On top of that, it has a much longer-lasting filter rated at 320 gallons.

If you have a big family or need a water filter for a small office, this is what you’re looking for.

Pros

  • Activated carbon block filter
  • Eliminates up to 60 contaminants
  • Durable steel housing
  • Capacity of 320 gallons

Cons

  • Thread seal tape needed for a good seal
  • Swiveling too often can loosen the filter
drinking water icon

Why Do I Like It?

Nevertheless, I love the 360-degree swivel function. It basically replaces the function of the pull-out sprayer.  

3. Brita Tap Water Filter System — Best for the Money

Filtration capacity: 100 gallons | Flow rate: 0.5 GPM | NSF Certification: Yes | Material: Plastic

The Brita Tap Water Filter also comes with a filter change reminder and installs on standard kitchen faucets with no tools needed. Just unscrew the aerator from the faucet and attach the filter in its place. 

Its filter has a capacity of 100 gallons which can replace 700 plastic 0.5-liter water bottles. 

So not only do you drink much healthier water but you get to reduce the plastic stream that often ends up in our oceans. 

This faucet water filter is NSF certified for 60 contaminants including lead and asbestos, while also removing the nasty taste of chlorine and benzene from your drinking water.  

Also, you should note that Brita is the most popular tap water filter according to Amazon.

Pros

  • Reduces up to 60 contaminants
  • Removes 99% lead and asbestos
  • LED filter replacement indicator
  • Simple installation

Cons

  • Capacity of only 100 gallons
  • Doesn’t reduce chloramine
  • Adapter collar prone to failing (get a metal replacement)
drinking water icon

Why Do I Like It?

The Brita Tap Water Filter offers a bit weaker filtration power than the Pur Advanced but it’s three times cheaper.

4. Culligan FM-25 Faucet Mount Filter — Best All-Rounder 

Filtration capacity: 200 gallons | Flow rate: 0.5 GPM | NSF Certification: Yes | Material: Plastic

Moderately priced and with an attractive chrome-plated plastic casing, the Culligan FM-25 is easy to miss for another average overseas-made tap water filter.

However, there’s much more to it than meets the eye.

Its activated carbon block filter is efficient in removing chlorine, lead, class-I particulates, VOCs, and turbidity. (I’m looking at you, Michigan)

The FM25 comes with 2 connectors that easily match with most standard faucets. The whole installation takes no more than a couple of minutes.

Its NSF-certified filter can process 200 gallons of water, which is enough for between 2 and 5 months.

If you ask me, it’s always better to replace filters more often, especially if you use the water only for drinking.

This way you prevent algae and bacteria from growing inside the cartridge itself.

Pros

  • NSF Certified
  • Eliminates chlorine, lead, and VOCs
  • Improves water odor and taste
  • Decent 200 gallon capacity

Cons

  • Filter housing cap tricky to remove
  • Flimsy faucet adapters
  • Not so great quality control
drinking water icon

Why Do I Like It?

The Culligan FM-25 is a reasonably-priced tap water filtration system that can deal with most contaminants you can encounter. A safe blind buy.  

5. Waterdrop WD-FC-01 Water Faucet Filtration System — Most Affordable

Filtration capacity: 320 gallons | Flow rate: 0.5 GPM | NSF Certification: Yes| Material: Plastic

The less expensive cousin of the WD-FC-06, this tap water filter uses 0.5-micron activated carbon fiber instead of a carbon block. 

Although less effective in retaining impurities, this filter is also NSF certified to reduce 94% chlorine, odor, and taste. 

According to the manufacturer, it also removes lead and suspended solids, such as rust and sand. 

Thanks to innovative materials, the WD-FC-01 cartridge can process 320 gallons before you need to replace it. 

Unfortunately, it comes with the plastic housing so it’s probably not going to last as long as the WD-FC-06. 

Still, I would ignore it considering the cheaper price tag.

Pros

  • Capacity of 320 gallons
  • Filtered / unfiltered water switch
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Not very durable plastic
  • Feels cheap
  • Seal is a miss and match
drinking water icon

Why Do I Like It?

With Waterdrop WD-FC-01 around, no one can say that decent water filters are expensive anymore. Literally, everyone can get one of these.

6. iSpring DF2-CHR Faucet Water Filter — Fastest Flow Rate

Filtration capacity: 500 gallons | Flow rate: 1.5 GPM| NSF Certification: No | Material: Stainless Steel

The iSpring DF21-CHR offers an unmatched flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute and one of the best filtration capacities — a whopping 500 gallons! 

According to the manufacturer, this tap water filter reduces chlorine, chloramine, lead, mercury, VOCs, cysts, and many other contaminants. 

But hold on with the “Add to basket” button, chief.  

These specs are nice, but I’d like it better if the company could provide independent test results. Backed by the NSF maybe?

Price considering, this is a well-made water filter that fits on many faucet types. 

A funny thing I noticed while testing this one: 

In the beginning, the water had a slight aftertaste, but when I reduced the pressure and filled the next cup, it tasted much better. 

It seems that the filter still needs some time to do its thing, despite the advertised flow rate. 

Pros

  • Filtration capacity of 500 gallons
  • High flow rate
  • Stainless steel casing

Cons

  • Doesn't remove suspended particles
  • Not NSF tested
drinking water icon

Why Do I Like It?

With such a filtration capacity, you can install this filter and forget about it. Till next year.

7. Engdenton Faucet Water Filter — Best for Removing Odors

Filtration capacity: 320 gallons| Flow rate: 0.5 GPM | NSF Certification: No | Material: Stainless Steel

The Engdenton Faucet Water Filter uses activated carbon fiber filtration that mainly improves odor and taste, removes most of the chlorine, and retains sediments like sand, rust, and dirt.  

Unfortunately, there’s no NSF testing to certify whether it removes other contaminants. 

However, the big selling point of the Engdenton filter is the stainless steel housing that not only looks better than plastic, chrome-plated filters but is more durable and leak-proof. 

The steady flow rate will get you about 8 cups of water per minute, while the 320-gallon filtration capacity provides about 5 months of normal use. 

I have one of these installed in our family’s vacation home and so far there’s never been any chlorine smell or metallic taste. 

Pros

  • Durable stainless steel case
  • Long filter lifespan
  • Comes with standard adapters 

Cons

  • Leaks between adapter and faucet
  • Performance datasheet not available
  • No evidence of NSF testing
drinking water icon

Why Do I Like It?

A durable and long-lasting water filter for people mainly concerned about bad water taste.

8. Wingsol Faucet Water Filter — Most Durable

Filtration capacity: 200 gallons | Flow rate: 0.5 GPM | NSF Certification: No| Material: Stainless Steel

If you haven't had luck with plastic tap water filters, you should try this one. Built like a tank, the Wingsol is designed to survive generations of family members. 

With 200 gallons of filter capacity, the filter cartridge on this one can last up to 3 months of normal use.

But here comes the best part!

After three months, you can simply brush its surface to refresh it and put it to work again. 

So why isn’t this one the number one?

Sadly, Wingsol’s filtration isn’t that sophisticated. It removes most water sediments like dirt, rust, and sand, most microorganisms, and partially chlorine. 

Although the manufacturer claims it improves taste, to me, there’s always a slight aftertaste that simply isn’t there with the Pur and other higher-end brands. 

Pros

  • All-stainless steel construction is hard to beat
  • 200-gallon filter capacity
  • You can revive the filter at home

Cons

  • Not NSF Certified
  • Doesn’t eliminate suspended particles and pesticides
  • Slight aftertaste
drinking water icon

Why Do I Like It?

If the tap water provided by your local utility is tested regularly for contaminants but you have to deal with aging supply pipes and in-home plumbing, this filter gets you covered without breaking the bank.

9. Crystal Quest Faucet Mount Water Filter System — Best Water Filter for Families

Filtration capacity: 2000 gallons | Flow rate: 0.3 GPM | NSF Certification: No | Material: Stainless Steel

Although this filter hasn't been NSF certified by October 2021, I decided to include it in this list for its incredible 2000-gallon cartridge capacity. 

This easily provides you with up to 12 months of quality water. 

The best thing is that the whole unit is no bigger than other upper-end filters on this list. The Crystal Quest works perfectly well even with smaller sinks full of dishes. 

Its six-stage filter reduces iron, lead, mercury, copper, nickel, chromium, cadmium, aluminum, and hydrogen sulfide, as well as eliminates microorganisms. 

However, the Crystal Quest lacks the more advanced filtration abilities of its counterparts.

Pros

  • Unmatched filtration capacity
  • Efficient 6-stage filter
  • Compact dimensions

Cons

  • Below-average flow rate
  • Slight metallic taste
  • Not NSF tested
drinking water icon

Why Do I Like It?

This water filter is an excellent choice for people who use a lot of potable water but don’t want to fumble with the installation of an under-sink unit.

10. CuZn Bath Ball Faucet Filter — Best for Baths

Filtration capacity: 1 year | Flow rate: N/A | NSF Certification: No | Material: Plastic

The CuZn Bath Ball won’t get you top quality drinking water. It’s simply a quick and inexpensive solution for people who want to fill their bathtub with more enjoyable water for bathing and washing purposes. 

This bulb-shaped water filter uses the innovative KDF Filter Media Disc that doesn’t need disposable filtration cartridges. 

So what does CuZn Bath Ball actually do?

It solves water quality issues like chlorine and heavy metals that contribute to skin irritation.

By reshaping calcium and magnesium ions so they remain soluble, it conditions the water without removing beneficial minerals. 

Pros

  • Improves the bathwater quality
  • The unit is 100% recyclable
  • One filter disc lasts up to 1 year

Cons

  • No performance data sheet provided
  • Mixed user experience
  • Tricky to keep it directly under the tap
drinking water icon

Why Do I Like It?

CuZn is a small family company with great customer service and their product does exactly what it should do: makes baths more pleasurable.

Tap Water Filter Buyers’ Guide 

What is a Tap or Faucet Water Filter?

A tap or faucet water filter is a local water filtration system that provides clean, filtered drinking water right at your kitchen or bathroom sink.

Most tap water filters produce filtered water on demand, so they do not store filtered water. This makes them so simple and effective. 

When you turn on the tap, water runs through the filter and flows out on the bottom, just like from the faucet.

Tap water filters often have a lever that lets you switch between filtered and unfiltered water. 

This feature significantly extends the life of your filter cartridge. 

How Does a Tap Water Filter Work?

Tap water filters are designed to attach to your kitchen or bathroom tap. So instead of dispensing water through the tap’s spout, water is diverted through the filter. 

Most tap water filters have several stages of filtration, each for eliminating the different types of contaminants. 

  • The first stage is a non-woven screen that removes sediment, which is a fancy word for small particles like rust, sand, dirt, and debris.
  • The next stage uses an activated carbon block to remove chemicals. A single carbon granule has millions of tiny pores that trap chemicals like a sponge. The slower the water flows through the carbon block, the more efficient is the filtration.
  • The final stage in the tap filter removes heavy metals such as lead and mercury, as well as the remaining contaminants like magnesium,  calcium, and nitrates. This process eliminates any odors from the water and improves the taste.
How Does A Tap Water Filter Work?

What Are the Benefits of Having a Tap Water Filter?

A tap water filter has a number of benefits, both for you and the environment.

First of all, it removes a number of harmful contaminants from drinking water, like heavy metals, chemicals, bacteria, and debris. 

Many people choose to buy bottled water because they don’t like the taste of tap water in their homes. A tap water filter can remove the chemicals or sediments that give water a funny taste.  

Tap water filters have another benefit that people often tend to forget. These filters let you choose between filtered and unfiltered water in an instant. 

For example, you need cold water to water your plants or to wipe down your countertop. Why use filtered water? Just turn the lever and use the direct tap water instead. 

Now try to do this with an under-sink mounted filter.

And the best thing is you don’t need a plumber to install it. You can do it yourself with practically no tools. 

Finally, having a tap water filter is great for the environment as they reduce plastic waste. 

A single filter cartridge can purify the equivalent of 700 plastic bottles of water. 

Not to mention that these filters are very much recyclable!

Things to Consider When Buying a Faucet Water Filter 

Plastic vs. Steel

Tap water filters are typically made with either plastic or steel housings. It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to offer basically the same system in the plastic and steel variant, which costs more.

Plastic products are 100% rust-resistant and inexpensive. Some of them are built with quality robust plastic, but in general, they are less resistant to wear and tear than their steel counterparts. 

Stainless Steel tap filters cost more upfront but tend to last much longer with fewer deformations and leaks. These filters also blend in with the faucet and sink more naturally. 

When Should I Replace the Filter Cartridge?

Filter life or capacity is usually given in gallons of water a filter can process before you have to replace it. 

There’s nothing magical about those filters. After a time of use, the contaminants and debris accumulate inside, and the filter becomes less and less effective. 

At that point, you should’ve already replaced the filter cartridge with a new one. 

However, the cartridge capacity can vary significantly even with identical products. It all depends on the usage. 

If you leave the tap running, it wastes water but also reduces the filter life by needlessly filtering water that goes down the drain. 

If you use the filter only for drinking and cooking water, you can maximize its life, while saving time and money. 

What is Flow Rate?

Flow rate is the amount of water that flows through the filter within a set period. It’s typically measured in gallons per minute (GPM). 

A whole-home filtration system must be capable of filtering many gallons of water per minute since a standard shower or dishwasher can use up to 5 GPM.

Tap filters, on the other hand, don’t need the same flow rates. With a few exceptions, most tap water systems have a set flow rate of 0.5 GPM. This is perfectly acceptable for drinking and cooking purposes.  

Nice-to-Haves

While we all love technical data sheets and comparison tables, it’s not all in numbers. Many of these water filters for sinks have added features that we come to appreciate. 

  • Filter change sensors — These LED indicators tell you when you need to change the filter cartridge.
  • Remineralization filters — Manufacturers sometimes offer different filter cartridges for their products. Remineralization filters re-add the lost minerals into the water to improve alkalinity and taste.

Water Filtration Quality

Manufacturers like to boast about the number of contaminants their filters eliminate, but you as a consumer should take these claims with a grain of salt. 

The top-ranking filters on this list, like the Pur, Waterdrop, and Brit have NSF certification. If a filter has an NSF certificate, it means that an independent, third-party agency has tested the filtered water and found it to meet certain standards. 

For example,  NSF/ANSI 42 certificate means that the filter reduces impurities like chlorine and unpleasant tastes and odors. Filters with  NSF/ANSI 53 are certified to reduce one or more contaminants with a known health hazard, such as lead or mercury. 

Final Thoughts 

The Pur Advanced Faucet Filtration System doesn’t appear as robust as the  Waterdrop WD-FC-06, nor it has its capacity, but it has unrivaled filtration capabilities. 

This “art deco” styled water filter faucet attachment is ANSI/NSF certified for an impressive 71 contaminants. This includes pesticides, industrial chemicals, and pharmaceuticals that increasingly occur in tap water. 

I also appreciate its LED indicator which tells me when to replace the filter.

MineralClear cartridges are my favorites — they enrich filtered water with minerals, giving it a spring-like taste. 

If you’re looking for the best tap water filter you can buy in 2021, it has to be the Pur Advanced Faucet Filtration System.

Pur Tap Water Filters

Pur Advanced Faucet Filtration System

Overall Rating: 5/5

Waterdrop FC06 Tap Water Filters

Waterdrop WD-FC-06 Water Filter

Overall Rating: 4/5

Brita Tap Water Filters

Brita Tap Water Filter System

Overall Rating: 4/5


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