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The Best Water Filters Of 2010

by Justin Thomas •

The Best Water Filters: A Review

The Best Water Filters: A Review

There are a lot of misleading claims about water filters. Many filters are marketed with general statements like “improves taste and odor”. But filter manufacturers don’t mention the specific amount of pesticides or chloramines removed, for example. Government websites also tend to leave out important data on water contaminants — it’s not in their interest to point out the problems with municipal water. We’ve found the best reviews of water filters comes from independent experts.

The best books on water purification I’ve found are The Drinking Water Book by Colin Ingram and Don’t Drink The Water by Lono A’o. Ingram suggests that one should first discover which pollutant are in your local water supply. You can then customize your filtration by selecting filters that target those specific pollutants. For example, if are you in a region of the U.S. where radon and uranium is commonly found in the groundwater, choose specific filters to remove those radioactive pollutants.

There are many sources of water contamination (see the graphic below), and sophisticated water purification is simply not possible on the massive scale that municipalities have to deal with.

thinkbeforeyoudrinkpict.jpg

Potential Sources of Water Contamination

Here’s the list of types of contaminants you want to remove from municipal tap water:

  1. Organic compounds (Pesticides, Herbicides, Pharmaceuticals, Fuels, etc.)
  2. Toxic metals (Lead, Mercury, Aluminum, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, etc.)
  3. Bacterial and viruses (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, etc.)
  4. Radioactive substances (Radon and Uranium, etc.)
  5. Additives (Chlorine and Chloramines, Fluoride, etc.)

Ingram’s book also contains a comprehensive collection of water filter reviews. He rates filter from “Acceptable” to “Excellent++”. Here are the ratings:

  • Pitcher Filters (Acceptable)
  • Faucet Filters (Acceptable)
  • Countertop Filters (Good)
  • Under-Sink Filters  (Good to Very Good)
  • Reverse Osmosis Countertop Purifiers (Good to Very Good)
  • Reverse Osmosis Under-Sink Purifiers (Good to Very Good)
  • Countertop Distillers (Excellent to Excellent++)
  • Whole House Filters (no clear answer, but appears to be mostly “Very Good”)

Notably, all the pitcher-style filters and faucet-mounted filters get a rating of “Acceptable” (the lowest rating).

Countertop Water Filters

Countertop Water Filter

There are dozens of brands of countertop filters, and many are made to high manufacturing standards. However, the cost of replacement filters can be high. So countertop filters with standard 10-inch cartridges are recommended. Ingram says: “The availability of a wide variety of standard cartridges allows consumers to customize a water purifier for specific water conditions and to purchase cartridges from a competitive array of suppliers.”

Recommended countertop filters with 10-inch cartridges: Puriteam (formerly Puritech), Superior Water Filter System and Aquatic Reef Countertop.

Puriteam filters are available on their website.

You can purchase others at Amazon.

Under-Sink Water Filters

A Triple Undersink Water Filter

Under-sink filters tend to tend to have space for two or three different filter types, which is important if you want throughout filtration. Look for those filters that accept standard 10-inch cartridges.

Based on our research, the best performing water filters for your money are:

Countertop Reverse Osmosis Purifiers

Reverse Osmosis Countertop Purifier

Reverse Osmosis Countertop Purifier

Countertop reverse-osmosis filters are full-size, multistage systems with performance that approaches or equals that of under-sink reverse osmosis units. Recommend models are Reverse Osmosis Filter by Pure Water Products and TGI CT-445 by Topway Global Inc. These filters have four stages: a sediment filter, a granular carbon filter, an reverse osmosis membrane, and a final granular carbon stage.

Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis Purifiers

Watts Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

Watts Reverse Osmosis Under-Sink Water Filter

There are hundreds of brands of under-sink reverse osmosis systems. Under-sink units generally perform better than counter-top reverse osmosis units, because they employ booster pumps and allow the reverse osmosis membrane to function optimally.

Recommended systems are: Watts Reverse Osmosis Systems, the Enhanced Water Filter by Pure Water Products, Rioflow USR04-50, TGI WIN445, and the Puregen ERO-535.

Gravity-Fed Drip Filters

British Berkefeld Ceramic Drip Filters

British Berkefeld Ceramic Drip Filters

If you are looking good filtration on a budget, I recommend a gravity-fed drip water filter system like British Berkefeld. These filters range in price from $200 – $250. They require no electricity to operate — water is filtered as it drips from the upper chamber to the lower chamber. Because the water is filtered slowly, the filtration is much more effective than a faucet-mounted filter. Berkefelds use “candle” type filters, which are widely available and can be customized to your specific filtration needs. Another advantage of this filter is that it can be collapsed and taken with you when you go on vacation.

Available from Amazon, see also the fluoride version.

Countertop Distillers

Countertop distillers are effective water purifiers, but they take some time to distill water (for example 5 hours to distill 1 gallon). They also give off some heat and the integrated fans make some noise.

Countertop distiller that get a rating of “Excellent” are the Megahome Countertop Distiller, Waterwise 4000 and Waterwise 8800, Kenmore 34480 and Pure Water Mini-Classic.

Megahome Countertop Water Distiller

Megahome Countertop Water Distiller / Filter

Megahome Countertop Water Distiller / Filter

This distiller is sold under many brand name, and it’s the most widely distributed distiller in the world. It has many quality components despite being inexpensive. It produces 1 gallon of water in 5 hours. The water is passed through a small granular carbon filter. There’s a sealed connections from the distiller to the water collection container, so there is minimal risk of contamination by air. The unit has a stainless steel boiling chamber that is easily accessible for cleaning.

The Megahome Countertop Distiller is available from Amazon for about $150.

Waterwise 4000 Countertop Distiller

Waterwise 4000 Countertop Distiller

Waterwise 4000 Countertop Distiller

This is a more powerful version of the distiller listed above. It has the same features but produces 1 gallon of distilled water in 4 hours. Also received an “Excellent” rating.

The Waterwise 4000 is available from Amazon for about $280.

Waterwise 8800 Water Distiller

Waterwise 8800 Water Distiller

Waterwise 8800 Water Distiller

The Waterwise 8800 is an inexpensive high-quality distiller. It produces 1 gallon of water every 4 hours. It received an “Excellent” rating from Ingram.

The Waterwise 8800 is available from Amazon for about $280.

Pure Water Mini-Classic

Pure Water Mini-Classic Distiller

Pure Water Mini-Classic Distiller

This rugged distiller is built out of stainless steel. It weighs 24 pounds, the filter housing is also made of stainless steel so there’s no contact with plastic.

The Pure Water Mini-Classic is available from Amazon for about $600.

Comments 105

  1. @Francisco, voce tem de saber que o pessoal aqui nao falam portugues. Coloque as suas perguntas em Google Translate.

  2. Os fíltros de gravidade de barro ou terracota utilizam três tipos de velas de cerâmica . A mais completa é a “ESTERILAQUA”. Externamente cerâmica e internamente carvão ativo e prata coloidal. O carvão absorve o cloro e a prata coloidal esteriliza a água.
    Vocês já testaram essas velas ?

  3. I try not to drink any liquid that I know hasn’t been through some kind of water filter. I myself have been using a reverse osmosis water filtration system for several years now. I continually get 0 ppm water, and the peace of mind of knowing my water is safe for consumption. My system was relatively cheap compared to most others out there. I got mine from Aquasafe systems, http://www.aquasafecanada.com and has been running smooth for years, and also has the carbon filter these “water filters” have, and has another 5 other filters. The problem with just a water filter is that they do not remove all chemicals or contaminants from the water, most of them just remove the chlorine, or just the smell.

    1. Mr. Farag,

      I am interested in discussing with you the potential for ocean wave power generation systems providing the power for the Ampac deslination systems (an alternative energy source vs solar panels). I’ve served on the Board of Ocean Power technologies Inc (NASD: OPTT). and am now working with their Chairman on strategic marketing and partnering.

      I can be reached at 757-277-5557

  4. Hi, thank you for the nice compilation and review.

    Do you have any experience with recycling of the old filters? In germany, you can give the used Brita cartidges to the farmacy, they will extract something from them… but I don’t know what.

    thanks

    olmo

  5. Not to be a buzz kill, but I spend DAYS researching these berkey filters. I even tracked down a gentleman who claimed to be one of the heads of the Toxicology Department, Dr. Portier, at LSU. He said that LSU did infact do ONE water sample on the Black Berkey over 10 YEARS ago and that neither he or LSU endorses their product. He also said that while the test did take place, that not Himself or LSU authorized a document to be placed on the internet. He said the reason that he was so quick to call me back is because he has had nearly 20 different inquires in the past 10 years asking about this “so called” lab analysis document that Berkey puts on their website. He also went on to say, that SOMEONE had to of manufactured the “LSU document” because he did not provide ANYONE with that document. So, even if LSU did do a sample, and if everything went alright, then why did New Millennium Concepts have to manufacture a LSU lab analysis report? Then I got to thinking, if New Millennium Concept (the company the main distributor for Black Berkey filters) is soooooooooooo confident in their product, then
    Why don’t they have any Quality Assurance procedures put into place?
    Why don’t they have their filters annually tested?
    Why don’t they get an NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) certification.
    Why don’t they have a Micron Rating for their filter…Nominal or Absolute?

    There I spoke with Valarie who was also very nice, she spend nearly 30 minutes talking to me on the phone about my questions. However, even though she was nice, she wasn’t able to provide any logical explanations on why New Millennium Concepts did not provide any quality assurance testing on their filters, or why they do NOT recertify their filters annually to ensure that they are still working properly. When I pressed her on this issue, she explained that the tests were several hundred dollar a piece and that’s why they did not do them frequently. Furthermore, her testament as to the quality of the Berkey Filters was that, “no one had ever gotten sick from using our Black Berkey filters”. She went on to say that New Millennium Concepts has been in business since 1997 and they do a lot of business. She said that they sold over 350,000 dollars of product in December 2010 alone.
    In conclusion, if New Millennium Concepts has been around as long as they say they have, and if they are selling over a quarter of a million dollars a month; then there is NO acceptable reason why they have not obtained an NSF certification, fail to conduct quality assurance on their products, or subject their filters to annual independent lab tests. These three steps would ensure the quality of their filters beyond doubt. Simply saying, “that no one has ever gotten sick using a berkey filter” is impossible to prove and meaningless. I have been drinking tap water for 30 years with all the fluoride, chlorine, and bacteria, and I have never gotten sick either. The problem is that unless the quality of water that you are drinking is SEVERELY contaminated, you won’t get sick right away. Instead, it will be a slow cumulative effect on the body. That fact that Berkey manufactured lab analysis reports from LSU also scares me!!!

    Bottom line is that the Berkey filters make some pretty awesome claims, but do very little to PROVE this to their consumers. History shows us that when a company makes great and unusual claims about their products, they NORMALLY back it up with proof; Berkey has failed to do that. As for Spectrum labs and the University of Arizona… I have yet to hear back from them.
    This review is not meant to be negative in any way, it is solely to spread information and get to the bottom of this.
    From what I can tell for sure, the best part about the filter is that the water collects in a 304 polished stainless steel basin, which is far superior to plastic! For this reason alone this filter might be worth buying? As was stated by the original person of this post, “Berkey filters will remove a portion of the substances that are attracted to activated charcoal if the black berkey option is used, and a portion of the substances attracted to alumina if the fluoride/arsenic option is used. It’s funny that a “minute” un-quantified amount of aluminum compound (presumably mostly aluminum oxide otherwise known as alumina) introduced by their fluoride filter is harmless; but a minute amount of fluoride and other substances is a serious health hazard?”
    The Berkey filter will remove “some stuff”, and in a survival situation this is definitely better than nothing. However, I am not able to use this filter for my everyday drinking water needs as Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast suggests. Granted Jack seems like a great guy, at the same time, an independent Berkey Filter Distributor is one of his sponsors…. Conflict of interest….you tell me?

    If you want more info on how to contact New Millennium Concepts, or University of Arizona, or LSU toxicology department….feel free to contact me by replying to this post and leaving your email address. If we put enough pressure on Berkey, they may spend the extra money to bring peace of mind to its consumers, that is if they past the lab tests?!?

    1. Tricia
      any updates? I would have bought a Berkey today, but I got the answering machine when I called the home office…then, surfing, I saw your comments! So I will hold off a bit…Sam

  6. Hello….I have read most all of the above on various filters…I am primarily concerned about a filtering system that addresses and removes the excessive amounts of Aluminum and Barium and Strontium from our drinking water…We here in the High Desert region of California are DAILY exposed to very HIGH levels of these chemicals from aircraft from above…Can ANYONE out there shed a little light of this?….does anyone ever Look Up?….Does anyone Care?…….Thank You sincerely….Jim Hanson

    1. I just purchased a dvd that chronicle the Chemtrail/Geo-Engineering cover-up, it is called “WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING?”
      In Germany outrage by independent scientists and the public have led to admissions from the Government that Chem-spraying was taking place…as a result of these protests the spraying has been prohibited! There is a public screening of this documentary sometime soon in Ranch Mirage…you can contact Melanie St. James for the details @ 760-776-7600. You can also purchase the dvd online…I paid $15 for it.
      Good luck Jim…tell as many people as you can…this is not a conspiracy theory…thanks for your concern…together we can all effect change……..take care bill

  7. Fascinating discussion. Todd, I agree with whoever said sunlight doesn’t cause cancer.

    I’ve used a Waterwise 3000 distiller system for almost five years, and have had excellent support when I called Waterwise or emailed them for replacement filters. Yes, it makes a little noise, but it’s quite tolerable, and if you plan a little you can start it when you aren’t going to be in the room much. It’s just one of many things we do to keep healthy. Getting adequate sunlight makes Vitamin D, which is crucial to health. It’s now thought by many that a lack of sufficient Vitamin D3 is the primary reason flu season is during the winter months, when exposure to sunlight is at a minimum. And we are rigorous in taking Diamond V XPC, a dried yeast supplement originally compounded for farm animals that raises the efficacy of the immune system. No one in our family has had even a sniffle during the three-plus years we’ve taken it, and it costs about 2 or 3 cents per day. Two pounds from Ebay would last the average family a year or more.

    So clean, pure water is just one of the measures necessary to live a healthy life in this era of omnipresent toxins and rampant viruses and infections.

  8. That Superior Countertop filter — on its Amazon product description is a California Prop 65 warning (contains carcinogenic chemicals). What part of the unit do you think contains these chemicals? Hopefully they’re on the outside! I’ve been trying to figure out where they are, comparing this to other similar units that don’t come with the warning…no avail. So far emails to the two known suppliers are going unanswered. Pity, as I’d like to buy the unit — well reviewed and economical — but don’t want to expose myself to potential danger.

  9. I found I think one of the “Best Buys” not mentioned here for either countertop or under the sink (Available as Both), The “InClean Gold” system available here http://incleanhealth.com/water-filters

    Takes out almost all common contaminants and you can add on a Flouride filter for minimal cost.

  10. We collect rainwater off our metal roof and have that pumped back into the house to use. The water is processed through various filters (5 and 20 micron, carbon block) and a UV system before being pumped back into the house. The lab metals screen found high levels of aluminum in the water due to the roof being made of Galvalume (aluminum/zinc coating over steel). What filter can I use to reduce/eliminate the dissolved aluminum in our water?

  11. Regarding the little after-filter attached to the spouts of counter top distillers and the claim that they take out any vocs which distillation might not have gotten rid of, how effective are they? If a Brita jug filter will not take out vocs then how can a tiny filter on the distiller which isn’t sophisticated do it. Isn’t those tiny filters a rip off. I distill municipal water and am concerned about vocs left over but just how concerned should I be. My distiller has the plastic filter attachment that only has about two table spoon of coconut charcoal and they want to charge 10 dollars for these filters which last a while.

    1. I would use a countertop filter to remove 95%+ of the vocs. They give you a semi pure water whenever you use the faucet and you dont need to rely on the tea bagger charcoal filters for the distiller. Multi pure looks good, crystal quest is cheap. Fill the distiller with the new countertop filtered tap water. Trace minerals are good to add to distilled water.

  12. Great conversation. This thread has brought up every question I have or have heard of regarding water filtration. I currently have two GE block carbon filters on my tap. I noticed I have not been feeling well and I have instinctively have almost stopped drinking from the filters tap. Today I noticed something at the end of the tap – yes something is growing in the tap. I took a Q-tip and found that there was more “stuff” growing deeper in the tap. This is certainly due to some neglect on my part. I am overdue on changing the filters and don’t clean the lines. I think that’s in part because I didn’t have much confidence in the system to begin with. At the time I need to do what was cheap and not good. Now realizing that my own water is making me sick it’s time to find some money and purchase the right thing. I was about to purchase a Watts 5 stage RO system for Sam’s for $170 or so. My head spins with all the variables and opinions on this subject. After reading this I’m now back to confused. I want to drink the best water possible. What is the conclusion of this discussion? What should I buy? I would like to decide this and be clear about it once and for all! 🙂

    Help!
    Thanks Everyone,
    Tommy

  13. Just a quick comment to Dr Todd.
    Sunlight does not cause cancer.
    Please buy and read the book called Into the light. You can find it on Amazon.
    Smartest thing you can do.

  14. I am considering all options for better water in my home. One issue that has not been addressed are the gases produced by the chlorine as the heated shower/ bath/sink water is drawing?? My children and I need safe drinkable water but also water safe for bathing. Do I go with a whole house system? I am looking at Kinetico. Any opinions?
    Linda

    1. wellness shower filter from japan. the vitamin c shower filters from korea are poor quality.

  15. hey for drinking water, I just found this amazing under the sink water filter at: http://www.wholly-water.com

    -Has 17 pounds of 6 different filter media
    – Eliminates parts per billion levels of contaminants
    -no changing filters
    -better than RO, bottled
    -leaves healthy minerals
    – Guaranteed life of media is 6 years!
    -simple backwash every three months! that’s it!
    – Heavy-duty, precision-engineered pressure vessel…NSF certified
    -passes NSF / ANSI Standard 53 to 77,974 Gallons and passes NSF / ANSI Standard 42 (aesthetics, chlorine, taste & odor removal) to an incredible 220,490 Gallons!

    Wow! After 20,000 gallons it still removed 99% chloine, flouride,lead!

    WHOLLY WATER ® Drinking Water Purifier
    http://www.wholly-water.com

  16. We use these all the time. Work great! Ours are on a crock, so you just sit the PureCool in the top of the crock, fill the water bottle with tap water and put the bottle upside down into the PureCool. The flow is very good and the water tastes great. I got the BPA free bottle too, though the PureCool will remove the BPA. Why add something toxic like BPA even if the filter will take it out?

    1. I’ve been using PureCools for several years now. I’ve saved a fortune in bottled water delivery plus I don’t have polycarbonate water bottles leaching BPA into my water anymore!
      We have Chloramine, which is much more difficult to remove than chlorine and tastes much worse. The PureCools do a wonderful job removing those chemicals. Our water tastes great and the PureCools last a long time. We get 2 at the time to save even more money. EzClearWater.com ships fast too.

  17. This is probably one of the most thorough water filter posts I have ever seen. Truly unbiased information, kind of a surprise these days.

    Great Post!

  18. i’m lookin for a whole house system…..consumer reports recommends a no- salt system called Pelicon PSE ……i found a smaller one by pelican for $699 it treats a whole house up to 3 bathrooms….
    Does anybody have any feedback about this filter/water softener without salt?

  19. Where I live Nitrate levels are very high with Trihalomethanes coming in at second place.

    Which filter would work for that? Nothing I’ve looked at mentions filtering Nitrates. I’m more interesting in using a counter top filter if possible.

    I’ve been looking at the Countertop Water Filter System Model WC001 from bestfilters at Amazon, but I don’t want to waste my money if it won’t help with Nitrates. I also read someone saying a 1.0 micron filter isn’t good enough – it should be .5, but how can I find out for sure?

    I’m really tired of drinking bottled water and hate contributing to the plastic bottle problem so I’m trying to find a good alternative.

    At this point I’m about ready to buy a Brita pitcher and just call it a day, but I don’t really want to.

    Thank you.

    1. Meridith, I have nitrates too, I went with an Reverse Osmosis, but if you have a standard kitchen faucet, I would give a counter top filter from filterwater.com a try, it removes both of your problems. Good luck.

  20. Sorry, the above comment does not show the web links that I pasted in to it. The first link was to the model mentioned, CBASSC at bestfilters.com and the second is named, as multipureco.com. Go to Multi-Pure and check them out – a bunch of varieties – countertop & under sink.

  21. Multi-Pure does make a water filter that reduces arsenic. Here is a link to the countertop model CBASSC:

    The model 88OSSC on the multipureco.com website is one of the models, and you can find more.

    Go to above and see varieties that reduce arsenic and other poisons.

  22. This web site is run by the parent company of Aquasana which is NOT an NSF certified filter:
    http://www.waterfiltercomparisons.com/water_filter_comparison.php

    So you might want to look at that with a grain of salt?!

    Many of these recommended water filters above are NOT NSF certified. NSF is the non-profit body which certifies if a filter takes out what it SAYS it takes out of the water, so if you buy any water filter make sure it’s NSF certified, (not just “tested according to NSF standards”) so that you know it does what it says it does! Aquasana and many of the others above are not NSF certified for 053 Health Standards which means they take out unhealthy contaminants!

    One of the best contaminant removers on the market is Multi-Pure. Multi-Pure removes over 65 major water contaminants.

    However, if you want to remove arsenic you have to get a reverse osmosis system. While Multi-Pure and others do make an NSF certified reverse osmosis system, I do believe that RO systems waste water and the water you end up drinking is “dead” water, water with all healthy things removed along with the unhealthy things.

    I’ll take my chances with arsenic and radon and live with a Multi-Pure carbon filtration system which takes out MOST contaminants (certainly more than any other carbon filter).

    1. Seriously? “Dead water”?

      I doubt there is such a thing. Like it has been said before in these discussions, if you are worried about not taking in enough salts, just add them back to the water.

  23. I think the criteria for the most metaefficient water filter should be the one which removes the most contaminants (pesticide, benzene,heavy metals) but at the same time retains the essential minerals/ nutrients in water.
    Distilled water is NOT for long term drinking. The human body needs minerals like Calcium, fluoride, etc. That is why in hospitals, IV fluids have NACl in it.
    Imagine what will happen if you infuse distilled water in your veins.

    Although there are other source for this minerals in food, the most basic and essentially “free” source is our water supply.

    With that… Distilled water is OUT as a drinking water source…

    To get the most metaefficient water filter, we should check their efficiency in removing the contaminants. The NSF test the “claims” of the manufacturer and certify their water filter system…

    http://www.nsf.org/certified/dwtu/

    You can see the percentage of removal of contaminants posted in the nsf website or the manufacturer’s website in the nsf links. (As you can see in the website, there are a lot of water filter system available out there)

    Ergo, the most metaefficient is an NSF certified product which removes the most contaminants and retain the essential nutrients/minerals.
    There are websites which compares their efficiency in removing contaminants such as these…

    http://www.waterfiltercomparisons.com/water_filter_comparison.php

    I have yet to see a website which compares all available water filter in the market.

    I hope metaefficient can research on this…

    1. I’m sorry, but that is just plain wrong. The amount of nutrients in any water is miniscule. You want to replace the minerals you lose by drinking a glass of distilled water?: lick your arm. The reason hospitals give .91% saline is that it is the same salt concentration as the body and is thus safe to give quickly and in large amounts. Dont worry, if you drink too much of any type of water, youre posterior pituitary will release less anti-diuretic hormone and youre kidneys will produce more dilute urine.

      Distilled water is perfect, and if you want, add some minerals for taste, particularly if youre going to use it to make some good tea.

      1. The minerals can be added back to the water, which does improve the taste, if nothing else. Also, I don’t see how a filter could selectively remove everything but trace minerals.

    2. I just wanted to comment on the waterfiltercomparisons.com site. I too fell for this and was about to purchase Aquasana until I read the About Us and realized that this site is owned by the manufacturer or Aquasana. I think that makes everything he has published against distilled water suspect.

    1. You should take a look at ewg.org – they recently reviewed the tap water of major metropolitan areas in the U.S., and Portland was ranked fairly low in terms of water quality. I live in the Portland area, and I had always heard that the water was “good” (pure water from the Bull Run Watershed, and all that), but apparently, it’s not.

  24. I ordered a counter top filter system from Crystal Quest. The unit leaked. I called them and had a terrible customer service. They acknowledged the problem, but they said I would have to pay a 30% restocking fee on the product even if it’s defective. I would go for any other brand but not Crystal Quest! It’s a rip off!

  25. With all this talk about water filters, have we thought about boiling the water? Isn’t that a simple way to remove everything from the water?

    Also our bodies are very strong and having certain things in them to help our immune system to become stronger, so then we can fight off stuff like this.

    But I do understand about the shower, I think about that every time I get in there. But I remember if I have soap and exercise, all those toxins are removed from my body!

    And whenever the weather gets better, I will get back into the sun because it is a natural powerful source of Vitamin D!

    Solar Iphone Charger If you want to check it out please do, if not thanks for reading my comment!

  26. Hello Justin,
    I have been told that the copper piping for my water system might be causing some of the health issues I have had and that I should get an RO system. Is that the only way to remove copper? Are there other systems that also remove copper?
    Thanks

  27. Justin,

    How is the cleansing process when using an Ozonator? I bought the ozonator you recommended and i filter my water through the tap (Brita) and then Ozonate. Do we know how effectively this will take out any toxins?

    Matt

  28. Post
    Author

    Nina,

    Glad I could help. I’ve updated the review with the new information.

    I chose the British Berkefeld system a few years ago because it didn’t involve and installation and it was the least expensive option.

    Justin

  29. we have a berkey. it uses no power other than manually dumping water in the top. but if our water supply stopped providing us water we could filter water out of our rain barrel or local stream for that matter. an endless supply of emergency water is a comfort to us.

    k-)

  30. Justin,

    Thank you…I think I’ll buy a system this week. Before I do, I have to admit to being curious as to why you chose the Big Berkey for home use. It seems to have great reviews but I can’t figure out why it’s a better choice over an undercounter system (which is for obvious reasons more convient to use). Would you mind sharing why you chose the Big Berkey?

    Thanks again,
    Nina

  31. Post
    Author

    Nina and Carol,

    Ingram gives under-the-sink filters a “Good” rating mostly. He gives a “Very Good” rating to the Triple & Quadruple Undersink Filters by Puritech and Pure Water Products. He says those filters have “great performance and value”.

    Specific models:
    Quadruple Undersink Super Filter by Pure Water Products LLC
    Puritech UCT
    Triple Undersink Filter by Pure Water Products

    Justin

  32. Hi Justin,

    I’ve got the same question as Carol…there were so many models/choices that it would be really helpful to have a rec. on a specific model?

    I looked up info. on Aquasana and although their filteration seems to be good there we a lot of complaints about leaking (in their undercounter unit) which seems to indicate that there is a problem in the quality of their housing unit (I saw the reviews on Amazon).

    Thanks for the great website:)

    Nina

  33. Hi Justin,
    I’m a filter newbie and this is the best thing I’ve found online to help guide me. For a number of reasons, I’ll probably stick with an undercounter one. Can you tell me if Ingram rated any of them “very good” ? Do you have a recommendation, especially re single, twin, triple, etc – especially between Pure Water Products and PuriTec?
    I appreciate any help, thanks!

  34. Stephanie, Distilled water is a solvent. RO with carbon filtration does not get all bacteria and arsenic and will not remove viruses. However, distilled with carbon filtration will get everything as long as it is maintained properly and filters are changed according to instructions.

    There is concern about losing minerals. Yes, we should be getting our minerals from fruits and vegetables but the reality is #1 most people don’t consume the RDA (recommended death allowance) of fruits and veges on a daily basis. #2 Even organic fruits and veges that have shown in tests higher concentrations of minerals are vastly devoid of mineral content compared to 50+ years ago.

    So my wife and I have come up with a solution that works for us—We distill water and add back natural minerals via Himalayan Rock Salt. My wife soaks the natural rock salt in water and adds a teaspoon per gallon to distilled water- in effect re-mineralization the pure water.

    Now it’s one thing to guess how this works but we went a step further. We went and had a bone density scan to see how the minerals were influencing our bodies. Both my wife and I had excellent bone density from our Dexa Scans. We have also run nutritional test via Metametrix to determine how we are processing minerals and how all of our organs, pathways are working…. So scientifically we are able to verify our health status, not just based on how we feel. Because many people feel good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthy.

    Overall, the life of the flesh is in the blood…so when we provide the right nutrients and pure water with the right balance of minerals, we are doing our bodies good. My personal feeling is that much of our contaminated water, air, food is contributing to overload on our detox organs—liver, kidneys, gall badder, skin—thus contributing to many forms of cancer. But if I had to pick one thing from a physical perspective we could for our bodies, it would be drinking pure water. Take away food, exercise, etc..and you have water. Do you know why? People can live without exercise, although not to a high quality of life. People can live for a certain period of time without food, although at some point they will need nourishment. But we can only live just a few days without water. Water is key to life and my #1 recommendation.

    1. Thanks for sharing David! I love the idea of adding Rock Salt to water for mineralization. I think I’ll do that right now…

  35. I understand the rationale for being unhappy with the waste of reverse osmosis systems. However they are popular here in west Texas for a reason–the municipal water does not taste good, and while we are assured that it is safe, there are issues with using it (i.e. iced tea comes out cloudy and unappealing, with sediment at the bottom of the jar). Other places that I have lived do not have this problem, which is why many opt for r/o systems, or to go and buy drinking water. Obviously the water we have is not a problem for bathroom or even most cooking purposes, though garden and houseplants don’t like it much either and tend not to do very well at all.

    After 4 years of trying to manage with the municipal water, I am about at the point of trying to do something more proactive–I am also concerned that all the minerals in the water will increase my chances of another kidney stone, something I’d sure like to avoid.

    The idea of a countertop r/o system seems more efficient than an undersink model since this way one can do r/o only as needed. Does anyone know if any of the choices can handle the really hard water that we have here?
    thanks!

    1. I was interested in possibly purchasing a reverse osmosis system, but am hesitant because of the wasted water and some information from Aquasana (whose ‘whole-house system’ I am also considering purchasing) Aquasana says that reverse osmosis leeches minerals but also makes the water acidic–not what you want for you body! They also said when you drink reverse osmosis water, as it goes through your body, it takes your body’s minerals with it, as water is always trying to get back to it’s ‘natural’ state. I have not had much success trying to find info comparing the processes–any thoughts anyone? Thanks!

  36. After using a few different systems over the years the best combo I’ve found is: For the faucet I use a triple ceramic membrane filter from crystal quest. Its cheap for how much it removes and is easy to hook up. Good for washing youre face, brushing teeth, plants ect.
    For drinking and cooking I use a steel megahome distiller. Using the fuacet filter water will remove the VOCs before I put the water in the distiller since distillers dont remove VOCs (prefilter). The bottles for the megahome distillers stink though so dont buy extras. Cleaning the gunk out of the distillers will require steel wool and muscle so dont give one to granny.
    For the shower I use a sonaki vit. c with a sediment filter that they sell.
    Have had good results with this so far (2 months). You can see through the sediment filter housing which is cool. It started turning green after the first shower due to the chlorine and gradually turns dark grey from the dirt. Much softer hair and skin.

    1. Richard, why do you not feel comfortable drinking out of your filtered faucet water? I’m looking at buying a Crystal Quest for my kitchen faucet and plan on using it for drinking water.

      1. the membrane filters dont remove the small particles from the water, and are also not as reliable. you notice this the first time you use a distiller. there will be much build up in the distiller that i would wrather not have in my stomach. distilling is also much more thorough at removing all contaminents, including virus and bacteria, except for vocs. distillers are also cheap (180) but do use electricity and require cleaning. ceramic(cq) filters require monthly rinsing also.
        i dont trust the crystal quest to get everything(98%hopefully) so the distiller assures super pure drinking water for a low price. it is also a good combo since the carbon block filters in the crystal quest remove vocs(important). faucet filters are good because you use the faucet for so many things, and i use a shower filter to round it out so i dont contact tap at any time. costs me appx. 300$ per year in all for good qaulity water treatment products. adding Cellfood to distilled water will add taste and nutrition. some laundry balls(amazon) claim to remove chlorine from washing machines as well.

      2. the membrane/faucet filters are not as reliable or as thorough from my experience. you can see this the first time you use a distiller with water that came from the faucet filter. there is much material that i would rather not have in my stomach. using carbon blocks in the faucet filter will remove the vocs, which make them a good combo to use with the distiller. the faucet filter is good for everything you do at the sink except drinking and cooking. distillers are cheap(180) but do use electricity and require cleaning. they are the easiest and cheapest way to get super pure water that i have found. the ceramic filter in the cq are supposed to be rinsed off once a month as well. adding Cellfood to distilled water will add nutrients and taste. i also use a shower filter, so i dont come in contact with tap at any time. there are also luandry balls (amazon/biowashball) that claim to remove chlorine from washing machines and reduce detergent residue.

    2. You can clean the gunk out of your distiller super easy by filling it with vinegar and letting it soak an hour or so. Then just wipe clean with a cloth or sponge.

  37. Hi,
    I’ve been looking at water filters as well, thanks for the article! However I am confused about your past good review of the Berkey. I was leaning in that direction. How does the Big Berkey or British Berkefield compare to these new filter systems you’ve reviewed?
    I have both chloromines and fluoride in my water. Thanks!!

  38. Hi,
    I came across your site and have a question. Our tap water was resently tested and was contaminated with lead and copper.
    Lead is 0.006mg/L and copper actually has 2.12mg/L.
    I’m searching for a good filter system to remove these contaminants.
    I know there are lots of filters around but I need to make sure that
    it actually works. Whould a carcoal filter be enough to remove above contaminants. Or do we need another filter system?
    Any suggestions are appreciated.
    Thanks!!!!

  39. Regarding brivari’s concern about removing minerals from the water, the human body does not get it’s supply of minerals from water. Even with the most mineral laden waters in the United States, you would have to drink more than 60 gallons per day to absorb any beneficial amount of minerals. And that amount of water would overload your kidneys and cause water intoxication, which can be fatal. A healthy diet will supply all the vitamins and minerals the body needs.

    I use distillation, hooked up to an array of solar panels. Am I “wasting” energy? I suppose you could say that. I could eat raw food and drink from rain barrels, but I prefer to find sustainable ways of creating energy to cook and produce healthy drinking water. I agree that distillers are not efficient, and even if they were built more efficiently, they still use a lot of energy. But if you buy clean/renewable energy, the impact is minimal, and the pure water is inexpensive (20-30 cents /gallon typically). I keep my distiller in the garage during summer and in the house for winter. I capture all the heat it generates in winter this way. Although it is little, it’s better than heating the garage. 🙂

    1. Tim,

      I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over the energy use. CO2 is a tiny molecule that makes up only 0.034% of the earth’s atmosphere, and despite its increase in the atmosphere, the earth has been cooling for over a decade, which will likely continue for a couple decades more:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8299079.stm

      Furthermore, it has been revealed that a significant amount of the weather stations that showed warming were not in their prescribed geographical location, and that many suffered from human development warming bias:

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026317.ece

      Add to that the scandal of faked climate data and the debunking of many of the original tenets of human-caused (anthropogenic) global warming (AGW):

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7004936.ece

      On top of the empirical evidence, the scam of AGW can be clearly seen in no other than Mr. Al Gore himself, who, despite having a carbon footprint >30x the average US citizen (probably thousands of multiples of the average human CO2 footprint), he has increased his claimed net-worth from 1-2 million to 100 million in the last decade.

      Intellectually, scientifically, economically, and using common sense, AGW is clearly a scam.

      The irony, and tragedy (other than the blatant power and money grab of the powers that be), is that it takes so much attention away from real environmental problems: habitat destruction, invasive species, destruction of resources (e.g. declining fisheries), and so on, which are NOT fixable.

      But I’m afraid that too many people have already been duped into investing emotionally into the belief that CO2 is the enemy.

      1. Chris,.. That was a great post!! Couldnt agree more!! We DO need to re-focus our attentions on bigger and actual problems! Good job!

      2. Chris, thanks for sharing. I too agree that CO2 isn’t the criminal at large. Methane is what deserves the focus.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1liqk9UQNAQ

        This greenhouse gas is 20x stronger than CO2 and is mostly associated with poop. Livestock does more damage to the environment than anything else as the average American purchases 200lbs of meat a year. I believe that CO2 is not the area of greatest concern, but the ice melt of Greenland and the Artic are well above any comprehendable averages. Something isn’t right. I believe that the technology which makes tasks more efficient and convenient hide consequences behind their appealing advantages. Whether it’s global warming, asthma, depression, cancer, or obesity, our modern lifestyle is not conducive to how we’re designed, mentally and anatomically. We’re supposed to be active, breathe fresh air, and eat the bounty of the earth. Instead we’re leaving a trail of CO2 everywhere we go. I have no doubt that this is detrimental to our planet. Especially when we’re chopping down our natural air filters to make napkins we can dispose of rather than wash.

  40. Jstin,
    Nice article!

    Reverse Osmosis,
    If what you are using /doing in life (if it means health for my entire family.) causes harm to others, your family will aslo not benefit from it in the long run.

  41. Guys nice review and conversation. How about Aquasana filters? I ve found several websites mentioning them as one of the best around, not if they are just bogus. Could you provide some insight? Thank you

    1. Aquasana seems ideal. It only takes out part of the fluoride, about half. The water tastes great! It’s cheap and easy in all ways of installation, filter change, usage.

      Would really appreciate your taking a look at it. I am thinking about ways to remove more of the fluorine at this time.

      Thanks for a great job.

      J. Howell

    2. Aquasana is a crappy rip off. I am sure that all the positive reviews given to Aquasana filters on other websites are owned/written by Aquasana itself. Amazon comments give you a clearer picture of what quality an Aquasana filter is. The one I bought did give better tasting water but the housing where designed to break just after the first use so it was not even worth it to buy a replacement filter. Apparently they “fixed” the design issue now, but just browse the Amazon comments to be on the safe side. Personally, I am going to go with the double counter top filters that were mentioned in this article.

      1. As an alternative, our company has just recently launched a new line of water filter products, “Essence Healthy Water Systems”. I would recommend anyone that is considering a purchase of a water treatment system, to first take a look at these products. Go to: http://www.essencewaterfilters.com. I would welcome your constructive feedback.

    1. The only problem with using a lot of electricity is that, unless you have truly clean sources, the long term outcome, if we all take that attitude, is the lack of a livable planet as we know it. That’s not very amenable to having a healthy family. The long run may or may not be all that long, as well.

  42. Well said Justin, your article is very informative and makes a lot of sense. I have been searching for more efficient ways to get cleaner water and I’m definitely going to be trying out some of the counter-top distillers. The only problem I have with this is that my electricity does come from a dirty source, though I am also reaching towards that goal of living a life completely free of any kind of environmental pollution. I think this is a goal that everyone should have.. we need to be working to save our planet, especially in times like these.

  43. Post
    Author

    Nathan,

    Consuming electricity is better than drinking polluted water. If your electricity is coming from a dirty source, that is a different issue.

    Also, I point out in the article and in the comments that using rain water is the best solution.

    You don’t provide any solutions yourself.

    Justin

  44. >Distillers do use electricity, but they are effective and inexpensive.

    I have to disagree with this reasoning, Justin. The same could be said of incandescent lamps.

    According to my calculations, purifying 1 gallon of water with a distiller would use 2.75 kWh of electricity. If you made a gallon of water a day, that would be 1000 kWh/year for water purification *alone.*

  45. Ok –

    Marinus and Brivari –

    I will try and comment on toxins absorbed thru the skin – I am by no means an expert but I am a doctor (allergist) and have a B.S. in Biochemistry so I know some about the partition coefficients mentioned in Brivari’s google book link.

    I have seen these filter showerheads sold on green websites for preventing toxins absorbed thru the skin. Chemicals definitely can be absorbed thru the skin. There are common medicines given by way of a transdermal patch system (think nicotine patch – birth control patch – clonidine patch and others.)

    However remember in those examples you have a high local concentration of a pure chemical that is lipophilic (which is important because this only works for lipophilic things because only they get absorbed thru the skin (the cell walls of the skin are made of lipid membranes so to pass thru these a chemical needs to be lipophilic.))

    Then recall that lipophilic things do not dissolve in water. They float on the surface (think oil slick).

    Most of the data referred to in the google book link talks about bathing under a toxic “octanol” layer. Where as most people shower instead of bath.

    Perhaps a toxic water filter is more important for bathing than showering.

    Then also the book link talks about non human systems (rats) bathing not showering. Remember also that smaller things (rats) have a higher surface area to volume ratio and therefore abosrb toxins thru the skin easier. There were reports several years ago of toxicity from applying chlorhexidine to the skin but they were mostly in children because of the SA/vol ratio.

    So in summary – although toxins can be abosrbed thru the skin and should be studied I think people shouldn’t be too worried because:

    1. only lipophlic toxins can work this way.
    2. the data mentioned here is for bathing – whereas most people shower.
    3. the data mentioned here is for small mammals (high SA/vol)

    I’d like to see some adult human data on toxic levels of things present in the blood after only a regular tapwater shower before I’d worry.

    And remember – All toxicity is dependent on dose. We all have PCB’s in our body – hopefully just too low of a dose to matter. So even if they could measure toxins in the blood from showering it wouldn’t mean much unless they showed they hit a critical level.

    Final thought – sunlight causes cancer – so if we want to avoid every possible carcinogen you either have to live inside all year.

    Hope this helps – feel free to differ.

    Todd

    1. Hello.
      A very sensible and very clear explanation for shower water. But, do you have any comments on swimming pool water? The best managed public swimming pool is full of chemicals, while the not-so-well-managed can be ………I will appreciate your comments. Some years ago I stopped going to a public swimming pool because of some rather unusual water (un)management techniques and concern for what happened at the skin interface. Some days you could even see mounds of powdery chemicals lining the bottom of the pool, which nevertheless still had cloudy water. That started me thinking and soon the decision was to forget about the swimming.
      Ekkwarttoch

    2. Nice. I am also studying for Biotech, but obviously am not nearly as far along as you yet. Way to use book-know to put to rest an urban myth. I hope to aspire to your level of capability as my schooling progresses.

      Here is to biotech.

    3. Hi Todd,

      I don’t necessarily disagree with what you have written, however there is growing evidence that prolonged exposure to chlorine in a non ventilated shower increases your likelyhood of developing certain cancers later in life. I believe the study was conducted by the AMA.
      Shower filters provide additional benefits that may far surpass the concern over toxic exposures. For instance in the absence of chlorine, a persons hair and skin actually feel softer. Chlorine attacks the hair shaft and strips the natural proteins from the hair follicle. People that dye their hair will notice that dyes will last longer since chlorine has the affect of bleaching out the coloration. Shower filters are affordable yet not every shower filter is created equal. For a start, I would recommend looking for shower filters that have been independently tested and certified by NSF International (www.nsf.org)

  46. Post
    Author

    marinus and brivari:

    This site reviews products based on their meta-efficiency. Energy efficiency is only one factor in this assessment.

    I stated that using rain water is the most efficient way to obtain pure water. It requires some filtration but not as much as ground water sources. However, it does require an expensive installation to retrofit an existing house.

    Whole house filters are good. But as far as I’m aware they cost over $4000 to install. Affordability is an important in my assessment.

    Distillers do use electricity, but they are effective and inexpensive. I also mention a non-electric distiller. They could be powered by renewable sources like biogas or even wood.

    Distilling does remove minerals from water, but this is not particularly important — we get enough minerals from fruits and vegetables.

    Solar distillers are inconvenient and the water does not get sufficiently hot from solar power alone. They should actually be called solar evaporators. They also get contaminated because they are not sealed.

    Most reverse osmosis units do waste water. But recirculating RO units are more efficient, and the waste water can be re-used as like any other greywater.

    I’ve yet to hear any efficient alternatives to the filters I list. Keep in mind that comprehensive filtration and affordability are important.

    1. My husband needs to use distilled water for his sleep apnea machine. We’ve been buying bottled water for months, and I’m feeling guilty about the amount of plastic bottles we’ve gone through. I don’t plan to drink the water from the distiller we got, but I’m happy to have it now 🙂

      1. i know what you mean, i have sleep apnea and it’s so difficult to clean the part of my machine where the water is held because of the buildup after so long, in the beginning i just used tap until we figured out what was going on… i live in a third world country now tho, and all i can use is a distiller so i wont have to deal with the pain in the butt of having to clean out that contraption! =]

        1. By coincidence I came across your reply – my husband was diagnosed sleep apnea and had tremendous success overcoming all symptoms.Feel free to contact me –
          Andrea

      2. I’m glad you’re steering clear of bottled water. While the bottles are recyclable, though the process is pollutive, bottled water is a joke. It’s unregulated and studies have shown bottled water to be equal to tap water, and sometimes even more toxic.

  47. I’ve never bothered to reply to anything here before but this article is just…GRR!!!

    All those countertop distillers you’ve listed are most certainly NOT efficient! They are all energy hogs since they work by boiling water and then condensing the steam. And you’ve totally ignored the potential health issue they pose since they remove all the healthy minerals from the water that are needed for good bone health etc. If you’d mentioned just one solar still I’d have not been so appalled by the list of energy pigs.

    Thanks to Todd I’ve no need of adding an additional rant over the inclusion of reverse osmosis water pigs!

    Aside to marinus:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=FsTJIOgt3RIC&pg=PA593&lpg=PA593&dq=skin+absorption+of+water+contaminants&source=web&ots=hEj_X-lRsq&sig=tPidmVtQQnzGIouq0r1cSwbtQG0&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result

    If the link doesn’t work just google “skin absorption of water contaminants”. For that reason the truly metaefficient choice would be the appropriate whole house filter with perhaps an additional undersink passive filter as a backup.

  48. I’ve read that it doesn’t matter how superduper your water purifier is, pollutants get in through the back door. The back door being your shower nozzle. Supposedly you absorb the waterborne toxins thru your skin.
    But i’ve never been able to substantiate this. Can anybody out there verify or debunk this claim?

    1. It’s true that the shower is where the greatest intake of toxins occur. I’ve heard that from many knowledgeable sources, including the experts featured in Flow: For the Love of Water. We spend a great amount of time in the shower and everything absorbed goes directly into our bodies. Digestion at least involves highly acidic stomach acid with the potential of expulsion.

      1. This sounds like crap – anytime anyone uses the word “Toxins” you can be sure they are spouting some woo they heard from fear mongers who want you to buy their useless health product. Just because someone wrote a book does not make them reliable. So you are in the shower and it’s hot – you sweats. This means you are forcing fluids out of your pores. I’ll bet there is not one credible study conducted proving “toxins” are absorbed by the body while hot water washes over your skin. Sound scary though. Better get out your wallet and buy something – like a book full of lies or a useless product. Fact is there is a lot of toxic stuff in the environment with long term effects no one can quantify as yet.

        1. Bruce,

          Actually there is. The American Medical Assocation has published a document that claims that prolonged showers in a non-ventilated shower over time is a potential cancer health concern.

          If you are interested write me and I will be more than happy to send you a copy.

        2. What one forgets is that in a shower, the water is turned into vapor, so water on your skin is irrelevant, you are now breathing in the chlorinated and fluoride enriched water!

      2. This is woo – your skin’s main function is to be a barrier between you and the environment, to prevent microorganisms and chemicals (including water) from entering your body simply from contact. It is true that some medications can be absorbed topically, but they have to be specially formulated to penetrate your skin, be applied at a high concentrations, and be left on your skin for hours for it to absorb. None of these apply to anything in tap water, where the concern is the effect of ingesting chemicals that have no effect at low concentrations over a short period of time, but may have an effect over the longer time periods that regulatory agencies do not track.

  49. Great review Justin thanks.

    Just wanted to point out the reverse osmosis systems reject (i.e. waste) more water than they filter.

    That doesn’t sound to efficient – unless we could figure a way to use this grey water say for shower or clothes washing.

    Anyone hooked up a system like that?

    Todd

    1. Multi-Pure is the most effective. We have been n business for 40 years and can back up our claims! If you wnt more informaton, you can contact me @ 323-753-3600. Multi -Pure distrbutor ID #is 174640 have been a distributor for over 25 years.

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