Staying properly hydrated has many health benefits. Daily water consumption promotes cardiovascular health, enhances skin’s elasticity, regulates body temperature, reduces dry mouth, and eliminates waste from the body. Having access to safe, decontaminated water right from the kitchen tap can help make it easier to meet your body’s need for hydration.
Countertop water filters are nonpermanent appliances that typically are placed on the counter adjacent to the sink to remove contaminants, such as chemicals, parasites, and bacteria, from tap water. Countertop models are often preferred because they’re lightweight, relatively easy to install, and don’t require enormous amounts of space for operation. Moreover, water filters help reduce plastic waste.
If you’re in the market for a countertop water filter, you’re probably looking for a filter that’s made well and that fits your unique situation. Keep reading to find out how to find the best countertop water filter for you, and check out the list of top picks below.
- BEST OVERALL: APEX EXPRT MR-2050 Quality Dual Countertop Filter
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Brondell H630 H2O+ Cypress Countertop Water Filter
- BEST BUDGET: cleanwater4less Countertop Water Filtration System
- BEST REVERSE OSMOSIS: APEC Water Systems RO-CTOP-C Portable Countertop
- BEST COMPACT: Home Master Jr F2 Elite Sinktop Water Filtration
- BEST TASTE: iSpring CKC1 Countertop Drinking Water Filtration
- EASIEST TO INSTALL: APEX Quality Countertop Drinking Water Filter
- BEST WATER FILTER PITCHER: Waterdrop Chubby 10-Cup Water Filter Pitcher
Types of Countertop Water Filters
The two types of countertop water filters are water filter pitchers and faucet filters. Understand the pros and cons of each when shopping for the best countertop water filter for your kitchen. Each kind of filter has unique characteristics for storage, filtration volume, and water decontamination.
Water Filter Pitcher
Water filter pitchers help make water filtration easy and relatively affordable. They don’t need to be connected to the faucet and can be stored anywhere—on the counter or in the fridge. Additionally, they work well in office and dorm settings. Their only drawback is that they may need frequent refilling, depending on your household consumption. Replacing the filter monthly is typically recommended. Some pitchers display filter life to let you know when the filter is near the end of its life. To maintain your pitcher, wash it and all its components by hand every week.
A countertop water filter system, which is also called a point-of-use water filtration system, attaches directly to the faucet, usually to the faucet’s aerator. Faucet filters are designed to save space while delivering on-demand filtered drinking water. They use filtration materials like activated carbon to eliminate contaminants, and they typically take minutes to install. Along with replacing the filter, faucet filters require some periodic maintenance.
What to Consider When Buying a Countertop Water Filter
Before you can determine which is the best countertop water filter for your home, learn about the potential contaminants in your water supply and how best to eliminate them. Many companies offer free water analysis to help you pinpoint the specific compounds or particles in your water to filter from the tap water. Consider a few other characteristics when purchasing a countertop water filter to keep your family safe and hydrated.
The size of the water filter is proportional to its filtration capacity. To determine which size will work for your home’s needs, consider the number of people who will be drinking the water and the amount of countertop space you have in relation to the unit’s footprint. Also don’t forget that the water filter must be next to the sink.
Filtration capacity refers to the filter’s life: the number of gallons of water the filter can effectively process and the length of time the filter will last. Not all filters can clean the same contaminants, and some models may remove beneficial minerals, too. Some of the more common contaminants removed from water are chlorine, fluoride, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Before purchasing a filter, have the water tested to find out which contaminants are present in your water supply and the ones that are most important to eliminate.
Filter Maintenance Requirements
At some point, the filter on every water filter must be changed. The filter’s lifespan correlates directly to the model; every filter’s capabilities are different. Some have a short life, such as one or two months, while others last a long time, even a year or more. Before committing to a particular countertop water filter, consider the cost and frequency of replacing the filter to determine the overall cost of keeping the filter functioning effectively.
Ease of Use
Countertop water filters are easy to use. Once the filter is installed at the faucet, using the filter is as easy as turning on the water and filling the glass or bottle. Filtration occurs in real time as the water passes through the filter. Because they operate directly at the water source and filter immediately, countertop water filters are more convenient than filter pitchers because there is no need to refill a container or wait for filtration.
When using a water filter, the taste of the water often changes subtly. Unchlorinated water tastes different from water directly from the tap. Some filters remove beneficial minerals from tap water, which could also alter the water’s taste and even change how the water feels. Look for a filtration system that either maintains or replaces essential minerals like magnesium and potassium.
Because not all filters are the same, some filter manufacturers have their filtration capabilities certified by the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF International) or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The purpose of certification is to verify which contaminants a filter can remove from water. The two standards awarded are Standard 42 for Aesthetic Effects and Standard 53 for Health Effects. The standards also are reported along with a classification that defines the percentage or range of each contaminant it can remove.
Our Top Picks
The products below represent the “best in show” in home water filtration. These top picks were chosen based on quality, functionality, and reputation.
The APEX EXPRT MR-2050 Quality Dual Countertop Drinking Water Filter uses granulated activated carbon to remove common foul odors, tastes, and contaminants, including chlorine, chloramine, benzene, radon, heavy metals, and harmful microorganisms. The filter also raises the water’s alkalinity by adding magnesium, potassium, and calcium to the purified water. The filter sits next to the kitchen faucet, and it easily installs to most standard faucets. The APEX EXPRT’s materials and components comply with NSF/ANSI Standard 42.
The Brondell H630 H2O+ Cypress Countertop Water Filter uses a three-stage patented Nanotrap technology to perform the kind of high-quality filtration usually found only in complex under-counter systems. The filter reduces industrial chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, turbidity, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), microorganisms, and bad tastes and odors. The elegant, compact design allows it to blend with kitchen decor, and the filter is compatible with standard faucets. The filter also offers an alternative below-the-counter installation. The filter has been independently lab-tested by WQA (Water Quality Association) for NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, and 372.
The cleanwater4less Countertop Water Filtration System uses a five-stage filter process to remove chlorine, sediments, and other VOCs. The unit can filter 10,000 gallons of water during its lifetime; however, there is no replacement filter. You must purchase a new unit once the filter is exhausted. The cleanwater4less is easy to set up and attaches directly to the faucet.
The APEC Water Systems Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System is lightweight, easy to install, and compatible with most standard faucets. The filter uses a four-stage, ultra-pure system to filter up to 90 gallons of water per day, and it filters out chlorine, odor, toxic fluoride, arsenic, lead, and chromium. The unit is enclosed in an aluminum case for enhanced aesthetic appeal. The filter is WQA certified.
The Home Master TMJRF2E Jr F2 Elite Sinktop Water Filtration System’s compact design blends with both traditional and modern kitchen decor. Installation is as simple as connecting the unit to the kitchen faucet. The filter uses a three-stage filtration system that includes five-micron compensation disks, activated coconut shell carbon, and activated alumina. It removes 93 percent of fluoride, chlorine, and other trace chemicals but retains beneficial trace elements like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium. The filter is good for up to 500 gallons or three months (whichever comes first). The unit is portable, so users can pack it for family vacations. An optional adapter pack for varied faucets is available.
The iSpring CKC1 Countertop Drinking Water Filtration System not only removes chlorine from tap water, it also removes odors, sand, pesticides, herbicides, sediment, and rust, all of which taint the taste of drinking water. The iSpring’s 5-micron Carbon Block Cartridge, which has been tested to meet NSF/ANSI standards, uses coconut shell carbon with compact fabrication for maximum filtration. The filter is easy to install, portable for on-the-go filtration, and compact for small spaces.
The APEX Quality Countertop Drinking Water Filter fits on the countertop next to the kitchen sink. Installation, which is quick and easy, requires connection to the kitchen sink faucet with the provided hardware. The filter eliminates 99.9 percent of contaminants while preserving calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and other essential trace elements.
The dual filtration system and replaceable filters are made with activated carbon and ion exchange resin. They have a filter capacity of approximately 3,000 gallons of water, and the filter can last for two to three months. The filter has an indicator that tells you when it’s time to change it. The unit is certified by NSF.
The Waterdrop Chubby 10-Cup Water Filter Pitcher uses a seven-stage water filter technology to reduce chlorine, arsenic, fluoride, lead, and other contaminants from household water. The pitcher is made from BPA-free materials, has a natural wood handle, and can be refilled without removing the lid. The filter can process up to 200 gallons, and replacement filters are available in a three-pack set. An intelligent indicator monitors the number of pours and displays the usage on an LED display. The pitcher fits in most refrigerator doors, and the spout lid keeps out dust. The pitcher is NSF certified.
The Advantages of Owning a Countertop Water Filter
Since the human body is composed of more than 60 percent water, it requires adequate water intake to function and fight infection. Tap water often includes contaminants and, at times, bacteria, which can cause health issues. Owning a countertop water filter can provide fresh-tasting, chemical-free water while protecting the environment from plastic waste.
A few advantages of owning a countertop water filter include:
- Decontamination: Filters purify water from harmful chemicals, sediments, bacteria, and parasites that affect quality and taste.
- Waste reduction: Water filters enable you to have pure drinking water without having to buy bottled water, minimizing the amount of plastics in the environment.
- Health benefits: Removing contaminants from drinking water can enhance immunity and reduce the ill effects that some contaminants are linked to.
FAQs About Countertop Water Filters
Installing a countertop water filter is relatively easy. Here are a few common questions and answers regarding countertop water filter use.
Q. How does a countertop water filter work?
Water filters work by using a filtration mechanism to capture organisms and chemicals. A fabricated surface traps the larger contaminants, while a compound like activated carbon works as a magnet to trap smaller contaminants.
Q. How do you install a countertop water filter?
Use the hardware included with the filtration system to attach the filter to the faucet’s aerator.
Q. Do countertop water filters work for all kitchen faucets?
Countertop water filters do not work with every type of kitchen faucet. Specifically, more modern designs and detachable faucets with spray nozzles may be incompatible with countertop water filters.
Q. What common contaminants does a countertop water filter remove?
Most filters can remove chlorine, fluoride, bacteria, and parasites. To know exactly which contaminants a specific filter can remove or reduce, consult the manufacturer’s information regarding filter certification.
Q. Can bacteria grow in my countertop water filter?
Yes, bacteria can grow in your countertop filter, so it’s a good idea to flush the faucet for about 20 seconds after turning on the water and then for an additional 5 to 10 seconds to filter and flush out any bacteria that may be lingering in the faucet.