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Unbiased Guide to best Water Filters for your home

Ultimate and Unbiased Guide to the Best Water Filters for Your Home in 2024


How Do You Pick the Best Water Filter?

Researching the best water filter can be hard. Water quality content is usually written by filtration companies or government agencies. For various reasons, this can make it difficult to get the unbiased information and advice you’re looking for.

That’s why we’ve prepared this Ultimate Guide to help you make smart decisions on which water filtration to choose. In fact, after reading this guide, you might discover you don’t even need a filter in the first place.

When choosing a water filtration or treatment system for your home:

  1. Determine what’s actually in your water 
  2. Determine which treatment technology you really need
  3. Choose a brand with certified filtration products
  4. Consider your water usage and personal requirements
  5. Find a certified professional if you can’t install the system yourself 
  6. Follow the instructions!

Determine What’s Actually in Your Water

One of the first and most important parts of picking a good water filter is evaluating what your water filter will need to filter out. 

Water Quality Data

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates public water system drinking water quality. The EPA’s main list of health risks in tap water includes more than 100 contaminants. Some of the most common drinking water risks include:

    To determine what’s in your water, you need to do a water quality test.

    Note: DIY home test strips are inadequate for comprehensive water quality testing. Find a certified lab through a service like Tap Score or call a lab facility directly.

    If you want to skip paying for a water test, then you can try to guess using publicly available data. This can be tricky because without a water sample that has passed through your neighborhood distribution network and your home’s plumbing system, the best data available still won't represent your actual tap water.

    For general information on last year’s water quality in your area, take a look at:

      Determine What Treatment Technology You Really Need

      Tap water and well water can contain many different types of contaminants. Different contaminants require different treatment technologies. No technology can remove everything (despite what companies may claim on their websites). 

      Water Treatment Technologies

      There are more than 20 core water treatment technologies. It’s important to choose the right one to address your home’s water quality issues. Here is a list of the most common technologies for home and apartment water filtration and treatment.

        • Activated Carbon
        • Reverse Osmosis
        • Anion or Cation Exchange
        • UV disinfection
        • Chlorination
        • Oxidation and Filtration
        • Microfiltration
        • Ultrafiltration
        • Nanofiltration
        • Aeration

      Read unbiased reviews about some of the most popular home water filtration brands:

        Choose Your Water Filtration Brand and Product

        Now that you have the information you need to purchase the right water filtration system, you need to look for a brand that sells (and maybe installs) certified products with the technology you need (e.g. reverse osmosis, carbon filtration, ion exchange, aeration, UV, etc.).

        Organizations like the Water Quality Association keep record of product certifications (others listed below). If you need help picking between brands and products with the right certifications, you can contact your Tap Score project manager.

        NSF Certifications Explained

          Contact Tap Score for Unbiased Advice

          Consider a System that Meets Your Personal Requirements

          Choosing the right product technology and brand is not complete without thinking about you personal needs and requirements. Do you live in a small apartment or do you have a giant garage? Do you need to treat ALL your water or just the drinking water? Choosing the right installation location is really important. 

            For example, lead was commonly used in household plumbing networks, so if you remove it at the entrance to your home, your water still might get re-contaminated as it passes through your home’s pipes. In this case, you’d want a point-of-use solution (i.e. a counter-top, under-sink, or pitcher unit) .

            Find a Certified Professional if You Need Installation Help

            If you purchase a product that requires substantial installation then you may need professional help. This is particularly true for point-of-entry filtration systems. These are often larger, more expensive systems and require more expertise with plumbing and mechanics.

            The Water Quality Association keeps a robust record of Master and Certified water filtration installation personnel across the USA. Consult the WQA Find a Member directory and be sure your product is properly installed. IAPMO maintains a similar director but it’s a bit broader than just water filtration installers.

            Follow the Instructions!

            No engineered product works properly unless the instructions are followed. It would be a shame to buy a water filter that doesn’t work because it isn’t installed properly—or properly maintained! Usually this is really simple to do if you read the instructions and keep track of the months between filter changes.

            The leading cause of filter failure is people forgetting to change the filter on time.

            Ask our experts questions about water quality

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            About The Author


            Serving as the CCO at SimpleLab, Jorgen has been an integral part of Tap Score since its inception. With a passion for combating misinformation in the water industry, he is dedicated to empowering individuals with a clear understanding of the fundamentals of their drinking water. In his spare time, Jorgen enjoys creating immersive social experiences for Virtual Reality with his wife.
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