The 6 Best Water Filters

Whether you're concerned about contaminants like lead and fluoride, or you simply don't like the taste of tap water, a basic water filter can make a world of difference. The best water filters will be low maintenance, easy to use, and will filter efficiently and without clogging.

Water filters come in a range of styles: pitchers, push-down dispensers, sink attachments, water bottle adapters, and more. To help you find the right fit for your particular needs, I made a list of the best options in every category. While making my selections, I weighed the following factors:

  • Flow rate: There's nothing more annoying than having to wait around forever while water slowly trickles through a filter. The best filters have designs that allow the water to flow smoothly.
  • Ease of use: Between installing the device and changing the cartridges, water filters can be tedious to maintain. I made sure all of the choices below are simple to install and have easy-to-replace filters.
  • Anti-clogging: One of the most common complaints among water filter owners is how prone they are to clogging. For that reason, I was also careful to make sure that all of the picks feature anti-clogging properties.

To determine how well these filters meet these criteria, I relied heavily on Consumer Reports, which rates these factors and others. I also read Amazon reviews to make sure many of users have vouched for each one. Given this, take a look at the best water filters below.

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1. The Best Water Filter Pitcher

Filters: lead, chlorine, mercury, copper, cadmium

What's great about it: Ranked at the top of Consumer Reports' list, the Brita Stream Rapids is one of the best water filters pitchers out there. It boasts a spout that filters as you pour with an excellent flow rate — and it's easy to fill, too. The pitcher's ability to reduce taste and odor is top notch, according to the ratings agency, and it doesn't clog easily. Plus, it's built with an electronic alert to tell you when it's time to change the filter, which on average, is about every two months. It's simple to wash, and the pitcher is slim enough to fit on a refrigerator door shelf. It's available in 10- and 12-cup capacity options, which means you'll have to refill it a bit more often than a larger countertop dispenser. And one other thing to note: Some reviewers mentioned that the spout is pretty small, so it can take longer to pour a glass of water.

One reviewer wrote: "Extremely impressed. The taste of the water from this filter is crisp and pure. It’s a major difference from some major name bottled water brands. [...] We also love that the water immediately filters as you pour. There is no waiting for the tap water to filter once you fill it up. Again another game changer!"

2. The Best Push-Button Dispenser

Filters: lead, chlorine, mercury, rust, dust, pesticides, herbicides, chloramine, metals, nonmetals, radiological contaminants, fluoride

What's great about it: Made with sturdy BPA-free plastic, this high-quality water filter — which has almost 6,000 reviews on Amazon — offers a bit more capacity, along with a simple push-button design. The container holds up to 1.13 gallons of water, which is 50% more than the 12-cup Brita pitcher above, and the slim construction means it takes up minimal counter or fridge space. The spigot creates efficient water pressure with a good flow rate, and there's a sticker nearby to remind you when it's time to change the filter — which is approximately every two months.

One reviewer wrote: "By far the best product yet! LOVE IT! Filter is easy to change, and the water filters extremely fast. Easy fill compartment on top makes filling a breeze. Spout is sturdy and doesn't leak."

3. The Best Under-The-Sink Water Filter System

Filters: lead, chlorine, rust, microbial cysts, sand, sediment, soil

What's great about it: If you're interested in something that attaches directly to your water flow system instead of having to fill a dispenser, this under-the-sink device is one of the best water filter systems of its kind. It's rated number four on Consumer Reports' list of under-the-sink water filters with an overall score of 80. The product review agency called its flow rate "excellent," and noted how well the device removes both lead and chlorine without clogging easily. And while it's a pricier option than a pitcher or dispenser, it's perfect if you're looking for something that doesn't take up fridge or counter space. It's simple to install and the filter lasts six months, making it a low maintenance option.

One reviewer wrote: "This is a great little filter. It's inexpensive, filters many elements, is easy to install and it really improves taste."

4. The Best For Travel

Filters: bacteria, protozoa, viruses

What's great about it: This is one of the best traveling water filters: Not only does it make water taste better, but it also purifies it, making it safe to drink from rivers, lakes, streams, and potentially compromised water supply systems in developing countries. In addition to bacteria and protozoa, the 25-ounce bottle filters out viruses — another feature that makes it a good option for traveling abroad. And you don't have to pump or press it either — just fill it up and the built-in filter takes care of it. The filter should be replaced about every 25 days, based on 1 gallon of use per day.

One reviewer wrote: "This purifier is amazing! Unlike most filters this also removes viruses from water. I used it on a trip to Vietnam and it was able to totally purify murky [...] water. Doesn’t clog either. Great tasting, what’s not to love."

5. The Best For Camping

Filters: bacteria, protozoa

What's great about it: The nice thing about this camping water filter is that you can treat fairly large quantities of water at once without having to spend time pumping it. Just fill up the 1.5-liter bag (about 6.5 cups), hang it from a tree, and let gravity do the work. It's super durable and removes 99% of bacteria and protozoa from even the most contaminated of sources. Best of all, the nozzle is compatible with lots of popular water bottle brands, including Nalgene, Klean Kanteen, and CamelBak. Just note that it doesn't remove viruses so you'll want extra protection when traveling abroad to high-risk areas. It filters up to 1,500 liters of water before needing a replacement filter.

One reviewer wrote: "This filtration system went with me on a 3 day backpacking trip, my friends and other hikers used different systems that took much longer to filter and more effort. The water tasted great and I didn't get sick, so it did its job for sure. Some fellow hikers will likely be purchasing this item, most were very impressed with its efficiency, weight and cost."

6. The Best Reverse Osmosis Filter

Filters: lead, heavy metals, mercury, chloramine, arsenic, radium, chlorine, cadmium, and more

What's great about it: If you're extra sensitive to contaminants or want a high-end option that removes even more pollutants, this reverse osmosis water filter is just the ticket. The high-tech device is capable of removing a whopping 99.99% of 1,000 contaminants, and because the unique process is able to remove dissolved solids, it's the only type of system that can filter arsenic. This countertop model requires zero installation, unlike many reverse osmosis systems that require drilling. Filter replacement is easy, but since there are four filters involved, it can get expensive. An electronic indicator will remind you when the filters need to be replaced: the reverse osmosis (third stage) filter can be used for up to two years, while the first stage, second stage, and fourth stage filters need to be replaced every 12 months.

One reviewer wrote: "KFLOW is a truly changing the health for my family and we take healthy water seriously. The system has all the pro's of reverse osmosis systems and none of the minuses. [...] The 4-stage filter system blocks impurities and transforms ordinary tap water into clean drinking water, making water taste crisp and sweet."