When it comes to choosing between bottled water and tap water, it can be difficult to distinguish among pros and cons. Tap water is significantly less expensive, but concerns about municipally treated water have made its bottled counterpart extremely popular in years past. However, the more we learn about bottled water, the more we understand that it may not be a sustainable or environmentally sound alternative to tap water. And in many cases, bottled water may be nothing more than municipally treated water bottled and marketed to consumers.
But, as you’ll discover in this best countertop water filters article, a happy medium is using one of these units in your home. Doing so can alleviate many of your concerns about tap water, but in an inexpensive and sustainable way – a countertop water filter can remove many common hazardous pollutants reported in tap water, and filtered water is a much less expensive and more environmentally friendly solution than resorting to bottled water. In fact, water filtered in your home ends up costing just a few cents more than untreated tap water on average.
If you’re thinking about purchasing one of these countertop filters, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find our countertop water filter reviews of several of the most popular models on the market.
Countertop Water Filter Comparison Chart
|AquaTru Countertop Water Filter Purification System|
Our Top Pick for 2020
Click to read review
|Avalon Countertop Self Cleaning Bottleless Water Cooler Water Dispenser|
Click to read review
|Zero Installation Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Purifier|
Click to read review
|APEC Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System|
Click to read review
|APEX MR-1050 Countertop Drinking Water Filter|
Click to read review
|APEX EXPRT MR-2050 Quality Dual Countertop Drinking Water Filter|
Click to read review
|iSpring CT10 Countertop Multi Filtration Drinking Water Filter Dispenser|
Click to read review
Best Countertop Water Filter Reviews
1. AquaTru Countertop Water Filter Purification SystemView Price
The AquaTru model boasts a high efficacy rate that can reportedly remove 99.1 percent of lead, 97.2 percent of chromium, 95.2 percent of copper, 93.5 percent of fluoride, 96.4 percent of radium and 96.6 percent of chlorine, among thousands of other pollutants this unit is designed to remove.
If you’re worried about installation, you can rest easy – this model takes only about three minutes to set up, with no plumbing or installation required. That’s part of why the AquaTru is our top pick for countertop water filters!
Your filter will come with quick-change, twist-and-seal filters that are designed to last anywhere from six months to two years. At 14 inches tall, 14 inches deep and 12 inches wide, this version is sleek and compact, leaving you plenty of counter space in the kitchen. In addition, it can purify one gallon of tap water in less than 15 minutes.
The AquaTru comes with a 100-percent, money-back guarantee, so if you don’t love it, you can certainly return it for a full refund within the first 30 days of ownership. AquaTru also offers a one-year warranty. It’s worth noting that this unit offers reverse osmosis in addition to conventional filtration.
Users love that the water is filtered quietly and quickly, and the resulting finished water tastes great. Some have reported that the machine can be sensitive if components aren’t aligned just so, and some have reported defects with their units upon delivery, but also that customer service was responsive and stood behind their product.
2. Avalon Countertop Self Cleaning Bottleless Water Cooler Water DispenserView Price
This countertop filter dispenses both hot and cold water for extra convenience and also includes a self-cleaning ozone feature, which purifies and sanitizes the dispenser, preventing any harmful pathogens or substances from building up within your machine.
Because of its built-in nightlight, you can clearly see the water spouts at night, and the Avalon filter and dispenser also features a “replace filter” indicator light that makes it clear when it’s time to replace the filter. Plus – the hot water spout’s child safety lock lets you rest assured that your entire family can use this dispenser without fear of being burned by the hot water.
This machine comes with a six-month/1500-gallon-capacity filter and a six-month/1500-gallon-capacity carbon block filter – it also comes with a one-year limited warranty. It measures 15x12x19 inches, so it won’t take up much room on your kitchen counter.
Most who’ve used this unit reported that the compact and stylish look is a welcome addition to any kitchen; this model also receives high marks for water quality/taste and ease of use. For many, the added convenience of both hot and cold water is a big plus. Any dissatisfactions with the Avalon filter/dispenser seem to be related most to a slower water flow than expected, along with longer-than-anticipated recovery time for the hot water dispenser. In addition, overall, there are many reports that installation was quick and simple, and that their countertop water filters were up and running very soon after delivery.
If you’re interested in delving further into the world of water coolers, check out our previously posted guide to the top water coolers.
3. Zero Installation Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter PurifierView Price
This stylish and modern powerhouse of a water filter by Puricom USA boasts that it can transform ordinary tap water into healthy, clean and great-tasting alkaline water for your household. Its small size is especially well suited for apartment living or RVs.
With no required special installation, this model is very easy to use straight out of the box. Its parts are all BPA-free and it reportedly removes up to 99 percent of contaminants including heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride and many others.
While this model’s 50-percent recovery rate is the highest among reverse osmosis filters, it’s highly efficient, using less power than your typical lightbulb: only 24 watts. The ZIP also comes with a one-year, money-back guarantee and a full one-year warranty. Approximately every 12 months, the machine will notify you that it’s time to change the filter.
This filter it a big hit with consumers; they reported easy installation/setup and great-tasting finished water. In addition, users say the machine is quiet and attractive, and many report pleasant interactions with customer service when they’ve had questions or concerns about their filters. One point that reviewers clarified was that you need to regularly empty the bottom water tray – where residue accumulates after each filtration cycle. If you don’t, you may end up with so much residue in the tray that it leaches back into your newly filtered water, ruining the batch.
4. APEC Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter SystemView Price
This easy-to-install unit works well with most standard faucets – you’re ready to plug in your machine and drink clear, clean, filtered water within minutes of delivery. Because of its small size, light weight and portability, this model is especially well-suited for apartments, condos, RVs, students, travelers, etc.
It is worth noting, though, that this particular unit is incompatible with pull-out faucets, sprayer faucets and/or designer faucets of unusual size. It works with water pressure from 40 to 80 psi.
Overall, APEC is a high-rated water filter brand, and this particular unit offers a high-performance reverse osmosis system with the highest-grade, four-stage ultra-pure system that produces clean, refreshing, great-tasting water.
This model features an aluminum exterior case, which adds to its style, and also boasts that it is a 90-gallon-per-day portable system that, with its high-capacity filters, guarantees durable and sustainable superior performance. The unit is produced from high-quality, food-grade materials; everything is pressure-tested before sale in order to ensure long-lasting durability.
According to users, this model is a great alternative to under-sink filters, especially for apartment dwellers. Many allude to the easy setup and the great taste of the water. If there’s any room for dissatisfaction, it’s around the water flow, which some finding it to be a little slower than desired.
This model is returnable within 90 days of purchase and also comes with a one-year, limited warranty with lifetime technical support.
5. APEX MR-1050 Countertop Drinking Water FilterView Price
This model boasts that it can remove up to 99 percent of contaminants that may be present in your drinking water, including bacteria or other microorganisms, fluoride, chlorine, parasites, arsenal and other potentially harmful metals and minerals such as lead and sodium.
One interesting feature of this countertop water filter is that it also adds helpful minerals to the water through the filtration process – after removing any existing sediment, particles or chemicals from your water, it then adds beneficial minerals back in, making your water more alkaline and healthier for you overall.
This particular model fits most standard sink faucets, and the system has a clean and elegant look as it sits on your countertop. It also comes with a one-year, limited warranty and is one of the lightest units we reviewed, weighing in at five pounds. According to the manufacturer, the APEX MR-1050 can filter 750 gallons of water before it needs a filter replacement, and all parts are BPA-free.
Users were impressed by the ease of use and installation, the taste of their finished water and the alkalinity of the finished water. Many like the way the clear, modern countertop unit looks sitting beside their sinks. In addition, several report positive customer service experiences. Some commented that the design could be improved to make sure that the filter tube doesn’t block the way when using the faucet. A few also reported trouble getting the unit open in order to change the filter.
6. APEX EXPRT MR-2050 Quality Dual Countertop Drinking Water FilterView Price
With all necessary hardware included for installation, this countertop water filter is extremely easy to set up and begin using upon delivery – you definitely shouldn’t need to hire a plumber.
This APEX model reportedly removes asbestos, chlorine, arsenic and lead, while also filtering out pathogens like cryptosporidium and giardia, which are known to contribute to waterborne illnesses. With its dual-filter setup and five-stage process, this is one of the most thorough and comprehensive models on the market.
This version connects easily to most domestic faucet models through a diverter valve and is designed to sit elegantly on your kitchen counter, right next to your sink. The manufacturer’s warranty includes a 30-day, 100-percent satisfaction, moneyback guarantee, plus a one-year warranty against material and workmanship defects.
APEX manufactures all of its products according to National Safety Foundation certified water filter safety requirements and standards, which helps ensure that the water they produce is safe and healthy for your family.
The installation for this unit is quick and easy – taking about 15 minutes – and the finished water is clean, pure and tasty. Many users also love the elegant look of this model and how it helps mitigate taste and odor issues. Make sure you’re looking for an alkaline model, though – some users who did not want that feature have reported some dissatisfaction with this model, though they also report responsive and helpful customer service.
7. iSpring CKC1C Countertop Drinking Water Filtration SystemView Price
This is a fun countertop water filter that comes in a variety of colors to fit your kitchen décor. The clear housing also allows you to see the filter as it works and/or to see when you need a filter change.
With its standard five-micron carbon block cartridge, this system can remove up to 95 percent of odors, sediment, sand, silt, rust and chlorine from your water – and it’s also highly effective against volatile organic compounds like herbicides, pesticides and other industrial chemicals. iSpring has this product tested by independent, third-party experts, as well, to make sure it meets all National Safety Federation standards for drinking water filters.
The iSpring CKC1C is easy to install – it requires no drilling, and it’s light and portable, plus being a great fit for small spaces like apartments or RVs. Everything you need for installation is included in your filter package – a standard, 10-inch CTO cartridge, two faucet adapters, a plastic wrench, O-ring and tubing.
In addition, the iSpring CKC1C is supported by a 30-day, money-back guarantee, plus a one-year limited warranty and lifetime technical support.
Reviewers love the user-friendly nature of this machine – the filter itself is easy to switch out, and it’s also easy to remove and move to multiple locations, like RVs, vacation homes, etc. However, some users do report incompatibility with some standard faucets, which may require an adapter. The good news is that customer service seems ready, willing and able to assist with any adapter needs.
How Countertop Water Filters Work
Countertop water filters are tremendously user-friendly devices, requiring little by way of installation and can be easily moved from one location to another. Although they are simple from a user perspective, countertop water filters employ a complex process to remove debris and contaminants from your drinking water.
The first phase of the filtration process is strictly mechanical. The water is first pressed through a filter that features small pores, or holes – typically between .1 and .3 microns. These holes act as a sieve, capturing any debris such as sediment, rust or other particles that might be present in your water. In addition, some microorganisms like bacteria, viruses or parasites may be large enough to filter out during this mechanical stage.
Once the mechanical phase is complete, the next step is water softening. This is accomplished by using ion exchange resins that can remove magnesium and calcium in your water, which makes it softer. In addition, this part of the process can eliminate both heavy metals and other toxins. Softening your water has many benefits, including shinier glassware, silverware, etc., along with softer skin and cleaner, smoother hair.
Check out our Water Softener Article for more in-depth information regarding water softeners.
The third step in the process is activated carbon filtration – many people consider this the most important part of the process. Activated carbon has been treated to maximize the number of its pores. As water moves through the activated carbon filter(s), those pores remove organic contaminants in your water, such as chlorine, disinfectants, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, herbicides, etc. Because of its large adsorption surface, activated carbon is relatively common in various types of water filters – it’s both effective and widely employed in removing various types of water contaminants.
In addition, depending on the countertop water filter model you choose, there are several additional optional filtration steps:
- Alkalization – Infrared rays can be used in this process to ionize the acidic components of your water, making it more alkaline.
- KDF filtration – KDF filtration even further neutralizes and reduces elements like mercury, iron, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide and lead that may be found in water. Adding KDF filter media can also extend the life of your carbon filter and lower overall maintenance costs for your countertop water filter.
- Silver filtration – Adding a silver filter can help ensure you’re eliminating any remaining microorganisms, toxins and heavy metals that previous filtration steps may have missed. Adding a colloidal silver filter can also cut down on turbidity, and it further helps with taste and odor issues.
- Remineralization – This is a rare step, but some users like to use a remineralization cartridge to release calcium and magnesium ions into the water, further improving its health benefits. In addition, many users prefer the taste of remineralized water.
One thing to keep in mind: unlike many other water filter types, most countertop systems refrain from using reverse osmosis.
Most countertop water filter models include a tube that attaches to your kitchen faucet – simply removing your faucet’s aerator and screwing in the adapter in its place will generally get you up and running. Filtered water will now flow from your faucet.
Advantages of a Countertop Water Filter
Some might say that countertop water filters are life-changing. That point is debatable, but for sure, using a countertop water filter in your home has many advantages, including the following:
- It can save you money – Over time, the purchase of a countertop water filter can save you a great deal of money when compared to the continued purchase of bottled water over time.
- It’s easy to install and maintain – Your countertop water filter simply needs to be connected to your faucet, and you’re all set up and ready to go. Most users feel comfortable with a DIY installation, but you can always hire someone to help you with the installation if you’re uncomfortable trying it on your own.
- It operates efficiently – Countertop water filters may be small, but they are remarkably efficient. Each one of the models reviewed here can remove most of the measurable contaminants in your existing water supply – everything from debris and pesticides to chlorine, heavy metals, pharmaceutical traces and fluoride. They are also effective at addressing taste and odor concerns.
- It boosts your water’s natural properties – Depending on the filter you purchase, your model may filter out hazardous sediment and pollutants while maintaining the naturally occurring, healthy mineral deposits that help balance the water’s overall pH.
- Your water will taste better – Because it can remove many common pollutants and irritants, including your water’s chlorine residual, your water will both smell and taste better once you begin using a countertop water filter.
- Your water will be healthier – Some studies indicate that using a water filter can decrease as many as 2100 documented toxins that may be present in tap water. In addition, filtering removes chlorine and all of its byproducts, so you’re drinking a more pure, healthier water that can support your overall well-being. It’s also been said that filtered water can help boost your immune system and even stimulate weight loss. For certain, when you remove contaminants and chemicals, you also alkalinize your water, which makes it better for your overall health. In addition, alkaline water is known for its anti-aging properties, it boosts your immune system, supports healthy digestion and effectively hydrates your skin. Some water filters offer the specific option of a filter that is designed to make your water more alkaline, so if this feature is appealing, make sure to look at each model for how well it performs when it comes to alkalinizing your water.
- Your water will be safer – Many contaminants, like lead, for example, can be a cause for concern in some tap or well water, but using a countertop water filter can help ensure that you aren’t ingesting poisonous substances.
Overall, most users agree that countertop water filters are highly effective additions to their households – effectively removing sediment and contaminants and reliably delivering clear, crisp, great-tasting water. They save money, are easy to install and help ensure the health of everyone in your home. In addition, they’re low-maintenance and relatively inexpensive to purchase, so there’s little risk involved in making a countertop water filter purchase.
Countertop Water Filter Installation and Maintenance
Unlike under sink water filters, which require a great deal of planning and measuring, installing a countertop water filter is quick and easy. If you have an adjustable wrench, make sure to have it on-hand in case you need it, but many models come with their own plastic wrenches designed for use during installation.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting your filter installed:
- Set the water filter beside your faucet, and make sure it’s close enough to allow for the water line to connect the filter and faucet without interfering with use of the sink or faucet.
- Take the aerator out of the faucet.
- If your faucet features an outside thread, go ahead and connect the filter. But – if your faucet features an inside thread, you’ll first need to connect the adapter and then screw in your filter. Don’t try to screw it in too tightly – it’s easy to mistakenly cause damage. Also make sure to use a washer.
- Attach your diverter valve to the faucet. Now, when you turn the water on, it should flow from the faucet.
- Last, rotate the diverter valve so that water now flows from the water filter. And you’re done – installation complete!
Once you’ve installed your countertop water filter, you’ve completed just the first step. Every model described here – in fact, every model on the market – will have regular maintenance needs. For example, make sure you understand what your unit’s filtering capacity is so that you’re able to change out the filter at an appropriate point; if you’re not regularly changing your filter, you’re essentially drinking the same water you’d get out of the tap.
Make sure you understand how quickly your countertop water filter will reach its capacity; a wide range of filter capacities is available. In addition, understand how your filter is configured – for example, some units feature four consecutive filters to thoroughly clean drinking water, and all four of those filters would need to be replaced at likely the same time. Just make sure to put yourself on a regular schedule for filter maintenance and you should be fine.
Some models may come with features that help you track when the filter needs to be changed – for example, a counter that allows you to measure the number of gallons filtered or a color-coded system that helps gauge remaining filter life.
Other than changing out filters, you may, from time to time, decide to switch out various parts of your filter, like the external case, the spout, tubing, O-ring, etc. These parts are generally easy to find either online or at a home improvement store, and most repairs/replacements can be made quickly and easily. As always, if you aren’t a DIY person, you can always get help with any repair or replacement more complicated than the filter.
In addition, you’ll want to clean your filter periodically, using only gentle cleaners and avoiding abrasive agents like bleach or steel wool
Being observant about your countertop water filter’s performance and taking the time to periodically update or replace parts can help keep your machine running at peak performance.
Best Countertop Water Filter Buyer’s Guide
You will be able to find a wide variety of countertop water filters on the market, so it’s important to know what your water filtration needs are, along with what specific qualities can help you meet those needs. Below, we’ve compiled several key considerations you’ll want to keep in mind as you make your choice.
- Size and filtration needs – If you’re purchasing a countertop water filter like those reviewed here, make sure you take inventory of your countertop space so that you know the model you choose will have plenty of room to sit beside your faucet. And besides the physical size of the water filter, you’ll also want to consider its filtration capacity; at what level do you need it to filter your water? All of the units described here can remove sediment, some heavy metals, taste and odor. But each model has its own strength. For example, some are better at removing chlorine, while others are stronger at filtering out chloramines. Some filters will remove harmful contaminants, but also healthful minerals, while other models add back in minerals that have positive health effects. In fact, before you make your countertop water dispenser purchase, you may want to have your water tested so that you know exactly what’s in it and what you’d like to filter out. A simple water test kit can tell you a lot about your current tap water – its heavy metal concentration, how hard it is, its pH and more. Once you know what’s there, you can find the best water filter to remove what you need.
- Ease of use – As a general rule, countertop water filters are extremely easy to use, which is part of what makes them so attractive – all you have to do is turn a switch and then turn on your faucet. But make sure you research exactly how that mechanism works for your chosen unit so that you can ensure a smooth user experience for everyone in your home.
- Price – You want to make sure you’re getting the best value for your dollar, and countertop water filters come in a wide range of prices. And the best machine for you isn’t necessarily the most expensive. This is where knowing what needs to be filtered from your water can help you make the best decision – for example, some models are especially good at filtering out heavy metals, so if you need that feature, those models might be a good choice for you. However, other models may be better at filtering out chemical agents like pharmaceutical residuals or pesticides, so if you know you need that level of filtration, you can concentrate on models within that category.
- Taste of the filtered water – All countertop water filters will provide a healthier drinking water for your family, but the resulting taste can be all over the map. It’s not unusual for some users to report that they’re not crazy about the taste of their filtered water. Part of that is the fact that people have become used to the taste of their tap water and are put off by the difference in taste – this is especially true when it comes to chlorine. It can take some time to get used to drinking non-chlorinated water. But keep in mind that countertop water filters also can eradicate some of the healthy minerals in your tap water, which also affects the taste.
Summing It Up
This guide should give you a head start when considering which unit to purchase as you read through various countertop water filter reviews. With the right research, and considering the variety of models to choose from, you can find the best countertop water filter for your home and be well on your way to cleaner, better-tasting water.