Whole house water filtration systems provide safe, clean, filtered water throughout your entire home for drinking, washing, and bathing. Not only that, but they can save you money by protecting your plumbing and eliminating the need to purchase bottled water ever again. Adding to this, good for the environment because they drastically reduce the number of plastic bottles that wind up in landfills.
Clean water is vital to human health, and throughout the centuries, technology has been developed to improve the quality of our drinking water. In fact, historians believe that humans began filtering their drinking water as many as 4,000 years ago. In modern times, there has been a growing concern about the quality of our water, and water contamination is considered to be a leading cause of many health problems. There are few things more important than the quality of the water your family drinks and bathes in, which is why choosing the best whole house water filter is so important.
To make your decision a more seamless one, our experts have gone ahead and done the research to compile this whole house water filter reviews article. We hope this handy resource helps you in choosing the best-suited unit for your home in 2019.
Whole House Water Filter Comparison Chart
|Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter|
Our Top Pick for 2019
Click to read review
|Pelican Carbon Series Whole House Water Filter|
Click to read review
|Aquasana Whole House Water Filter with Salt-Free Softener|
Click to read review
|iSpring 2-Stage Whole House Water Filter|
Click to read review
|Home Master Whole House Water Filter|
Click to read review
|iSpring 3-Stage Whole House Water Filter|
Click to read review
|3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filter|
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Best Whole House Water Filter Reviews
1. Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter
The Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter offers a three-stage water filtration system, allowing you to drink from any faucet in your home without fear of drinking contaminated water. This system removes a number of contaminants, including chlorine, rust, iron, lead, insecticides, dirt, viruses, fungi, odors, mercury and arsenic.
Express Water has designed this unit to supply high volumes of filtered water to your entire home without any pressure loss or the need to add chemicals. Furthermore, it’s made of 100% food-grade materials, and each individual component has been tested to meet NSF and ANSI standards. Each connection on the system is rated to filter up to .25 gallons of water per second. It comes with a free-standing frame so you can choose mounted or unmounted installation.
On average, you can expect to filter 100,000 gallons of water before you need to change the filters on this unit. When that time comes, the filters are easy to change; just twist off the housing, pull out the old filter, and drop in the new one. The Stage 1 filter removes sediment that can damage your appliances and your other filters, the Stage 2 filter is a KDF filter for removing heavy metal contaminants, and the Stage 3 filter is a carbon block filter for removing chemicals and improving taste.
Current users of this Express Water unit appreciate the clear housing on the first stage filter that allows for monitoring of the filter. We love everything about this system, so much so that it’s our top pick for 2019! To round out this review, company provides outstanding, lifetime customer support and backs up their product with a 1-year warranty.
2. Pelican Carbon Series Whole House Water Filter
The Pelican Carbon Series Whole House Water Filter is easy to install and requires little maintenance. This unit has the ability to filter 600,000 to 1,000,000 gallons of water over five years. It has a four-stage filtration system that removes a variety of contaminants, including chlorine, pesticides and pharmaceuticals.
The Stage 1 filter on this unit is a 5-Micron Pre-Filter system that is designed to remove sediment and debris as small as, you guessed it, 5-microns. When replaced every 6-9 months, this filter will protect your appliances and plumbing from sediments such as sand and silt. The Stage 2 & 3 filters utilize Catalytic Granular Activated Carbon Media made of coconut activated carbon for filtering chemical contaminants. The fourth stage of filtration is the Copper and Zinc Oxidation Media for preventing and reducing the potential growth of algae and bacteria.
Pelican Water has designed this unit with a large-diameter tank that has the ability to hold a great deal of water filtration media. When it comes time to change the filter, simply swap out the media. This improves the lifespan and overall performance of the filter and costs less than replacing the entire tank, a task many other systems require.
Reviewers found this whole house filter easy to install. Although the filter itself is low maintenance, the pre-filter will have to be replaced every 6-9 months and the carbon media inside the tank is somewhat pricey when it needs replacing. Pelican offers a limited lifetime warranty on this product.
3. Aquasana Whole House Water Filter with Salt-Free Softener
The Aquasana 10-Year Whole House Water Filter can filter up to one million gallons of water, providing, great tasting, safe drinking water from every faucet in your home for the next decade. It removes 97% of chlorine and reduces the amount of fluoride and other contaminants like lead, mercury, and pesticides. The system can also be upgraded to include a salt-free water softener and UV filtration, which is a huge plus if you’re on well water.
This filter is specially engineered to maximize potent filtration for top performance. Additionally, it’s been designed with a distinct upflow, dual tank functionality that equates to more water staying in contact with the filters for a longer period of time, meaning more time for contaminants to be removed; this design also means clogging will be a thing of the past.
Aquasana’s optional pro-grade installation kit includes brass fittings for easy installation, a 20-inch pre-filter, and a sub-micron post filter. It also has bend support and shut off valves for easier filter changes. With the addition of a Simplysoft Salt-Free Water Softener to this unit, you can protect your pipes from scale and corrosion without removing essential minerals from your water and adding excess salt or chemicals. Aquasana’s UV Sterilight Filtration add-on kills 99.99% of viruses, bacteria, and more.
You should plan on changing the filters every 10,000 gallons with this unit. Although many reviewers were able to install the Aquasana Whole House Water Filter themselves, some required the help of a professional plumber. In closing, Aquasana provides a 10-year warranty on this product.
4. iSpring 2-Stage Whole House Water Filter
The iSpring 2-Stage Whole House Water Filter is capable of filtering up to 15 gallons of water per minute, for use throughout your entire home. Unlike some of the other units we have listed, this system only provides two stages of filtration, but removes up to 95% of VOCs and up to 98% of sediment, chlorine, and other contaminants that cause unpleasant odors and tastes. iSpring has designed this unit to use replaceable filters that can last from six months up to a full year of average water use for a family of four.
This system is easy to install and comes pre-assembled on a mounting bracket. Adding to this, it features a pressure release valve that makes it easier to install the unit as well as change the filters when the times comes and has sizable one-inch input and output ports that can handle .25 gallons of water per second. This model utilizes only premium components and features reinforced construction that meets NSF and ANSI standards.
This particular iSpring can filter up to 50,000 gallons of water, which unfortunately is the least of any unit in this guide. Its first stage of filtration is a 5-micron high-capacity polypropylene sediment filter that is responsible for removing rust, dirt, and other sediment. It also extends the life of the second stage filter and protects plumbing. The second stage filter is a 5-micron coconut shell carbon block filter for removing chlorine and other organic chemicals like pesticides, insecticides, and industrial chemicals.
If you have hard water, you may still need to install a water softener to use along with this system. See our Water Softener Reviews article for more information on water softeners specifically. Some users also stated that they wished the filter housing was transparent so they could see the state of the filter. In the event that you’re unhappy with this unit, iSpring provides a 1-year money back guarantee as well as unlimited lifetime technical support.
5. Home Master Whole House Water Filter
The Home Master Whole House 2-Stage Water Filter has a 95,000-gallon capacity with a replaceable catalytic carbon filter and is capable of providing a full year of pure, filtered water for a family of four. Home Master has equipped this unit to remove 95% of sediment, chloramines, chlorine, chemicals, heavy metals, and other contaminants from city or well water.
The oversized filters that are included with this unit improve the water flow rate and allow you to go longer between filter changes. This system also has large filter housings with 1-inch ports to provide excellent water pressure and up to 10 gallons of filtered water per minute.
Reviewers were pleased with the steel mounting bracket that enables you to mount the system right on existing 16-inch studs. They were also impressed with this unit’s filtering capabilities, even with only two stages. The first filter stage is a sediment filter that has four gradient densities to produce finer filtration and provide greater dirt holding capacity from 25 down to just 1 micron. The second stage is the catalytic carbon filter and removes chemicals, heavy metals, unpleasant tastes and odor.
At only 10 gallons of water flow per minute, this system may not provide enough water flow for larger households. Also, keep in mind that this system does not remove bacteria or viruses from your water. If you are on well water, you should have a water test done before purchasing any water filter to determine what types of filtration you need. House Master provides a 2-year limited warranty with this filter.
6. iSpring 3-Stage Whole House Water Filter
The second iSpring unit to make our list, this whole house filter boasts one additional stage over its sibling reviewed above. The iSpring 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System comes equipped with gradient, three-stage filtration. This system will remove sediment, chlorine, rust, pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, VOCs, and a variety of other contaminants.
iSpring designed this unit with a 1-inch NPT inlet and outlet to have the least amount of impact on your home’s water pressure. It can provide up to 15 gallons of filtered water per minute. Additionally, this system uses large 20-inch x 4.5-inch filters for a longer filter life and the best water pressure possible. What’s more, this system does not remove total dissolved solids, meaning it allows healthy minerals to stay in the water.
The first stage filtration in this unit is a high capacity polypropylene sediment filter that removes particles down to 5 microns while the second and third stage filters are CTO Carbon Block filters for removing chemical contaminants. Both filters have a capacity of 100,000 gallons for a full year of clean water.
Most reviewers had no issues installing this system, but some reported that they needed to use Teflon tape to prevent leaks. You will still need to pair this unit with a water softener if you have very hard water. As we stated in the prior iSpring review, this filter comes with a one-year warranty and unlimited lifetime technical support.
7. 3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filter
The 3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filtration System has a high flow rate capable of providing 20 gallons of filtered water per minute. Unlike the other units reviewed in this article, the Aqua-Pure utilizes a single carbon filter that reduces chlorine taste and odor. One of the main pros about this unit is how easily the filter cartridges are to change; just twist the old one off and twist the new one on. No special tools or contact with the filter media are required.
This system reduces contaminants from the point of entry and protects the plumbing fixtures and water-using appliances throughout your entire home. One feature that’s unique to this unit is that it’s also perfect for light commercial or industrial use. The 3M Aqua-Pure will reduce sediment, dirt, rust, and chlorine odors and taste in city or well water.
As was stated above, we love the sanitary quick-change design of this system that allows for fast, easy and virtually spill-free cartridge change-outs without the need for a filter wrench. The unit has a 100,000-gallon capacity and also features a stainless-steel head that provides ample corrosion resistance.
Although this unit is more affordable than some of the other whole house filters in this article, the manufacturer recommends that you also purchase a separate pre-filter system to use in conjunction with this unit to trap large particulates; while the unit can be used without one, a pre-filter will extend the life of your filter cartridge and prevent clogging.
How Whole House Water Filters Work
Whole house water filters (or point of entry filters) are installed at the point where the main water supply enters your home. This means they filter the water for your entire home, instead of just at the place of installation, like an under-sink water filter does at a kitchen sink. Once installed, a whole house water filtration system becomes the point of entry for your home’s water. These units provide clean, filtered water to the entire home for drinking, bathing, cooking, washing your clothes and dishes, and any other tasks that use water.
Depending on the type of whole house filter, water goes through various stages of filtration before it enters the home.
- The first stage is usually a pre-filtering step to remove any large particulates in your water, anything that’s about five microns in size. This is a crucial step because it extends the life of your other filters by preventing them from clogging.
- The next stage of filtration is usually an activated carbon filter designed to remove chlorine from the water. Public water is often treated with chlorine to neutralize biological contaminants, but it can leave your water with an unpleasant taste and smell. In some cases, the manufacturer may treat this filter with special substances that provide other benefits, such as silver to give it antibacterial properties.
- A copper-zinc and mineral filter is a common next step. This stage of filtration is crucial for removing any remaining chlorine, heavy metals, and some bacteria and microorganisms from the water. It will also reduce the amount of scale in the water.
- Your system may also include a fourth stage of filtration. In some models, this fourth step will soften the water and remove scale without the need for adding salt. Water that contains high amounts of dissolved calcium and magnesium is considered to be “hard water.” Hard water leaves behind mineral deposits that can stain your sinks and toilets and leave residue on your skin and clothes when you wash so this can be an important feature if hard water is a problem in your area. That being said, it’s more common for systems to include a post-filter at this point. A post-filter will remove any remaining tiny particles from your water and improve the water quality even more.
Some systems may also offer UV filtration. A UV filter is designed to kill any viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms that have made it through the previous stages of filtration. This type of filter can be especially beneficial if your home uses untreated well water. You should have your water tested before you purchase a system to see if a UV filter is necessary.
Consider an instant hot water dispenser to compliment a whole house water filter and provide hot water for coffee and tea instantly.
Advantages of a Whole House Water Filter
As we’ve touched on a few times already in this guide, one of the key advantages of installing a whole house water filter at your home is the health benefits. These systems filter out unsafe levels of heavy metals, chemicals, sediment, and chlorine that can be hazardous to your health and have unpleasant side effects, like drying out your hair and skin and giving your water an unpleasant smell and taste. In general, a high-end whole house filtration system can remove as many as 30 dangerous contaminants from the water supply before it enters your home.
Consider this: chlorine is added to municipal water supplies to kill bacteria and viruses, and it is probably safe in controlled amounts. However, if you are using chlorinated water for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing, you are probably consuming more of it than you realize. Chlorine even evaporates into the steam when you shower or bathe, so you’re breathing it in the entire time. That’s why it’s so important to filter all the water that you use in your home, not just your drinking water.
If your water supply comes from an untreated source, such as a well, it could contain microscopic organisms like viruses, parasites, and bacteria. In fact, even municipal water sources have been known to become contaminated from time to time and boil water notices are issued. A whole house water filtration system can remove these organisms, which protects your family from intestinal and digestive problems.
Investing in a whole house water filtration system can be good for your family’s health in other ways, too. Staying hydrated is essential for your overall health and energy levels. When your family has access to an unlimited supply of great tasting, clean drinking water, they will be encouraged to drink more water, instead of reaching for unhealthy, sugar-laden soft drinks.
Whole house water filters are very low maintenance. Generally, once your system is installed, you will have safe, clean drinking water for up to a year before the filters need to be changed. Not only will you save yourself the expense of purchasing bottled water at the store, but you will also be doing something good for the environment, too. Plastic water bottles are causing a serious pollution issue throughout the world, and anything we can do to cut down on their use is crucial for our planet’s future.
As if the above benefits aren’t reason enough to install one of these units, a whole house water filter can reduce your need for plumbing repairs, too. The chemicals, minerals, heavy metal, and rust that are usually found can cause damage to your plumbing system over time. Heavy metal and mineral deposits can accumulate in your appliances that use water, too, like your dishwasher, washing machine, ice maker, and coffee pot. These deposits can significantly shorten the life of such appliances.
Whole House Water Filter Installation and Maintenance
While you may hire a plumber to install your whole house water filter, there’s always the option of installing it yourself. Although it seems like a pretty daunting task, installation with these units is usually fairly straightforward. Once the system is installed, very little maintenance is required; any able-bodied person should be able to change the filters easily when needed.
To install your new water filter yourself, first check the manufacturer’s instructions that were included alongside the unit itself. While there will most likely be a detailed guide regarding installation, we’ll highlight the general steps below.
Necessary Tools and Items
- Water Filter System (who would have thought!)
- Pipe Cleaner
- Pipe Cutter
- Teflon Tape
- Copper Pipe
- Pipe Fittings
- Filter Fitting Adapters
- Ball Valves (Copper)
Whole House Water Filter Installation Steps
- First things first, locate the main water shutoff for your home and and turn it to the off position. Turn on the faucets in your home to drain the remaining water from the pipes.
- Decide on where you’ll be installing the system.
- Pipe cutter in hand, cut the main water pipe.
- After cleaning the pipe inside and out, install the fittings with solder and then connect the adapter fittings to the filter housing with the teflon tape.
- It’s now time to head back over to your main water shutoff valve and turn it to the on position, however, before doing so ensure that the inlet valve on the filter is off. So long as no water is leaking, the inlet valve can be turned on thereafter.
- Finally, the carbon filter in your system needs to be activated. This process differs between systems, so be sure to read through the documentation provided with the unit.
Replacing the Filter
While the process of replacing water filters will differ depending on which system you have, these instructions will give you the general idea of how it’s done. You can always refer to your owner’s manual for more detailed instructions. Your filter should be changed every six or so months, depending on the manufacturer and how often it’s used. If you notice the pressure of your water has weakened throughout your home, the water filter most likely needs to be swapped out.
- First, turn off the water at both sides of the filter.
- Locate the pressure release button (if applicable) at the top of the pre-filter and press it.
- Using a plumber’s wrench, loosen the housing and remove the old filter.
- After cleaning the inside of the housing, replace the filter.
- Once the housing is screwed back on, turn the water back on.
- Give the new filter a few minutes of water going through it before using the water for drinking or cleaning.
Best Whole House Water Filter Buyer’s Guide
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a whole house water filtration system for your home. The first thing you should do is send a sample of your water to a lab for testing or purchase a kit at your local hardware store and test it yourself. You can also tell a lot about your water quality just by its odor, taste, and clarity. Your observations and test results will help you determine what types of filtration you need.
If your water has high levels of sediment, be sure to choose a system that has a pre-filter to remove sediment like dirt, rust, and debris before it has a chance to enter the rest of your system. This will significantly extend the life of your filters, prevent clogging, and protect your plumbing.
In cases where the water has an unpleasant chlorine taste and odor, you need a system that utilizes an activated carbon filter. Carbon filters are also good for removing other chemical contaminants, including pesticides and herbicides. This type of filter will have a significant impact on how your water tastes and smells.
When your water test shows the presence of heavy metals, choose a system with a copper-zinc and mineral filter. This type of filter is also beneficial for removing some types of bacteria from water and reducing scale. The Express Water 3-Stage filter discussed above features a sediment filter, a carbon filter, and a heavy metal filter, so it’s perfect for almost any situation.
Some filters, like the Aquasana 10-Year Whole House Filter, allow you to incorporate a salt-free water softener right into your filtration system. Aquasana also offers an optional UV filter upgrade that is beneficial for removing bacteria, parasites, and viruses from your drinking water. Not everyone will need these extras, but your water test will tell you if they’re necessary.
Another critical factor to consider is the water flow rate of the system you are looking at. For example, the Home Master system discussed above can only provide 10 gallons of filtered water per minute. For families that don’t consume a lot of water, this may not be an issue. However, if you have a large family, or if you like to run your dishwasher or washing machine at the same time someone is using the shower, you will want to go with a system that offers a higher flow rate. The Express Water filter can provide an astounding .25 gallons of filtered water per second, so you should never experience any issues with a reduction in water pressure when using this system.
The longevity of the filter cartridge is also an important consideration. Some systems, like the Express Water and the 3M units reviewed above, will filter as much as 100,000 gallons of water before a filter change is required. With that capacity, the average family of four could go for about a year in between filter changes. On the other hand, systems like the iSpring 2-Stage model require a filter change every 50,000 gallons, so that same family of four would likely go through at least two filter changes per year.
While some units are quite expensive, a whole house water heater is, in our opinion, one of the best investments that can be made, as it benefits the health of your family, increases the longevity of your home, and conserves the planet.
Although there are numerous units out there to choose from, we hope this best whole house water filter guide has provided some guidance in helping you zero in on the unit that is best for your situation – one that removes the specific metals, chemicals, sediment and so on that are prevalent in your water supply. If you have any questions after reading through the whole house water filter reviews above, don’t hesitate to shoot us a message or leave a comment below!