If your drinking water smells funky or has a bad taste to it, you may want to consider updating your system. When switching to filtered water, there are many options available, and choosing the right one can be an overwhelming task. There is plenty of things to consider, such as kitchen layout, convenience, and lifestyle.
When deciding on an under the sink or countertop water filter, each comes with its pros and cons. There are differences in styles, functionality, installation, and contaminants that each removes from your drinking water. You need to ultimately feel confident in your choice and select one that is best for your family.
Under the Sink Water Filters
As the name suggests, these are water filters installed underneath your sink. They filter the water for cooking, drinking, and more. They are very popular for renters and homeowners because you can install and remove them yourself if required.
- Easily Concealed. Since these filters install in a cabinet under the sink, they are out of sight. If the kitchen is limited in space, these filters are an excellent option as they save space. They also don’t take up space in the fridge as the filter attaches to the water lines, giving homeowners immediate access to drinking water.
- Water Flow is Faster. Since these water filters connect directly to the kitchen sink’s waterline, a pitcher doesn’t need constant refilling to access clean water. With a quicker flow rate, people don’t have to wait long for clean water.
- It offers superior filtration performance, which is better than countertop pitcher filtered water. However, its performance varies based on the system of choice.
- Installing the System. The majority of under sink water filters need a dedicated faucet installed. Depending on your handiness, all under sink water filters can be DIY projects. However, the individual needs to feel comfortable with disconnecting water lines under the sink or drilling holes in the countertop or sink. If there is a sprayer that you aren’t using, utilizing that space is perfect for drilling a hole for the faucet.
- When looking at filtration systems, there is a difference in cost between under sink and countertop models. Under-sink filters contain a more powerful filtration system. However, they cost more than countertop filters.
Finerfilters reverse osmosis under sink water filters removes 99% of contaminants found in drinking water. It is a six-stage reverse osmosis system and provides the best drinking water available. It gives users 190 litres per day and has a 3-gallon storage tank.
This kit comes with an installation manual, all pipes, chrome faucet tap, pre and post filters, and fittings. Installation is easy.
The membrane lasts between one to two years, depending on the hardness of the water. You should replace the filters twice a year.
- Requires a minimum pressure of 45 PSI for non-pumped systems. Pumped systems require 30 PSI. Anything lower damages the pump.
- Comes with an air bladder, so water doesn’t touch the outer shell, so the system remains containment free.
- Post Carbon Filter
- Removes dissolved salts, copper, lead, barium silica, and bacterial by-products.
- Some users report headaches, but was resolved by adding pink rock salt per 4 litres batch
Countertop Water Filters
If your water tastes bad, a countertop water filter provides a wonderful alternative. They need little installation or assembly, and some are usable right out of the box. These filters sit directly on the countertop and provide healthy water.
- Installing Them. Countertop water filters are simpler to install in comparison to under sink water filters. No plumbing is required, either. So, if you aren’t handy, this may be a better choice. Most systems require you to remove it from the box and plug it in for clean water.
- Since there is no permanent installation, they can go anywhere. If you travel or go camping, they can be used in an RV, motel, or anywhere with electricity.
- They are less pricey than under sink filters. The low price is attractive to those looking for an accessible way to obtain great-tasting, clean water at an affordable price.
- Takes up Room on Counter. It does take up space on the counter and isn’t as concealable as the under sink filtration system. If you place it in the refrigerator to keep the water cool, it will take up additional space.
- With most systems, you can only have as much water as the pitcher holds. Many only hold one gallon of water per use, which may not be ideal for large families, or if you consume a lot of water. You will end up frequently refilling it, and it will not be as convenient for you.
Waterdrop contains a reverse osmosis system that has a filtration accuracy of 1.0001 um. It removes most contaminants like TDS, limescale, heavy metals and fluoride. It is also certified to remove lead as well.
It is the first smart reverse osmosis system with a tankless design and contains composite filters. There is a 3-in-1 filter system that removes sediment and carbon. The membrane is efficient and offers more than three-stage filtration systems. This system uses active carbon granules composed of natural coconut shells. It improves the water’s taste.
The tankless design goes underneath the sink and helps homeowners avoid secondary pollution involved in tank systems. It also creates space.
It is also energy efficient as it saves water waste by 300%.
- Fast Flow
- Does 1514 litres per day
- Smart faucet
- Faucet is brushed nickel
- 30-minute installation
- Leakage protection
- Protection from frequent stops and starts
- Automatic flushing for the membrane after two hours or every 24 hours when in holiday mode.
- Taste may be slightly acidic
- Doesn’t filter well enough
Water filters do need maintenance regularly, especially when replacing filters. Under the sink systems need to be replaced every six months. With countertop units, they require replacement every three months.
The Geekpure system has advanced quick twist filters and easy maintenance. You can change the filter in five seconds by giving them a simple twist. Plus, installation is quick, convenient, and easy.
It removes 99% of contaminants like lead, arsenic, fluoride, mercury, heavy metals, cadmium, and 1,000 others. It filters them down to 1.0001 microns.
Components are of top quality and require low maintenance, increasing the durability and longevity of the product. All components (tube, storage tank, quick push fittings, membrane) are NSF certified.
The capacity is 75 gallons of water. It will fit underneath most sinks or cabinets. It also has a video DIY instruction manual which is easy to follow.
- Waste to water is 1:2
- Simple to replace and maintain parts
- Poor technical support
Aquatru creates a countertop water filter system with four stages. It uses reverse osmosis and is BPA free.
This system is certified to remove hormones, microplastics, toxins, contaminants linked to cancer, lead, arsenic, chromium, and drugs from your tap water. It is certified to NSF standards set forth by the IAPMO. This system removes 82 contaminants, which is 15 times more than regular pitchers.
There is a quick-change twist and seal filter which lasts from six months to two years. The design is very modern, compact, and sleek. It purifies one gallon of tap water in 12-15 minutes.
- Quick filtration system
- Removes the majority of contaminants from water
- Not suitable for hard water
- Some reports of leaking
The Brita Marella countertop water filtration system offers 1.4 litres of water capacity. Its sleek, slender design makes it easy to fit into small spaces and is dishwasher safe (except for the lid).
It has an optimal filtration guarantee with the MAXTRA+ filters, which allows for fresher tasting water. There is a flip lid to fill the pitcher easily and gives electronic cartridge replacement reminders.
Chlorine and organic impurities are removed with micro carbon pearls, improving the taste.
- Refreshing and pure taste
- Improved taste when used for hot drinks
- Less hassle of descaling for kettles or coffee machines by offering limescale protection
- Sustainable- filters are recyclable
- Free replacement parts
- Four water filtration system
- Electronic timer lost power
- Poor lid
Zerowater has a 23-cup countertop dispenser with a five-stage filter process. It uses an ion-exchange technology to reduce contaminants by 99.6%, so you get purer tasting water within minutes.
This container uses a filtration system with five technologies to remove dissolved solids, including chromium, lead, and heavy materials. It is NSF-certified.
It contains a lab-grade meter that digitally records the exact amount of total dissolved solids. The filter should be changed when the TDS meter is above 006 ppm.
- Contains a sealed lid and reservoir
- Immediate pouring ability
- Compact design with large capacity
- Filter needs to be replaced more regularly
- Problems with water flow
Which One Should I Choose?
If you are renting, you may want a filtration system that’s easily uninstalled and removed if you move to another residence. Countertop systems become more ideal as there is no damage done to the rental property itself and are portable.
However, some under-sink systems are easy to install and are very straightforward, making for easy relocation.
For your own home, there is the freedom to choose. You can select a more permanent system. In deciding which one you will use, you need to consider how many people are living there, how much water is being consumed- especially per day.
Types of Water Filters
There are several different types of water filters, and each removes different components from your drinking water. These are the filters and what contaminants they remove:
- Activated carbon removes VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.
- Catalytic Carbon gets rid of chloramines and chlorine.
- Reverse Osmosis/Ion-Exchange removes heavy metals such as fluoride, mercury, and lead.
- Absolute Sub-Micron Mechanical Filtration System captures chlorine-resistant cysts such as cryptosporidium and giardia. Also traps asbestos.
All filters are not created equally. Reductions in contaminants improve when the water stays in contact with them for longer periods.
Fluoride is one of the most controversial ingredients found in tap water. In the 60s, it was recommended in most countries that fluoride be added to water to prevent tooth decay. The only way to remove it from the drinking water is through reverse osmosis.
Reverse osmosis is a system of separation by using water pressure to force water through semi-permeable membranes. This membrane holds solid contaminants on one side while permitting water to pass on the other. It removes anything larger than a water molecule.
Overall, it removes sodium, sulfate, fluoride, nitrate, zinc, iron, lead, chloride, arsenic, and cyanide. These systems are so effective at removing solids from the water that they demineralized treated water. They do remove healthy minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Without these minerals, water can become quite acidic.
Some do have a remineralization component just for this reason.
Most under sink water filtration systems use reverse osmosis. It just provides for a cleaner, pure-tasting water supply. Very few of them incorporate anything else.
The benefit of these systems is they are easy to conceal as they go underneath the sink. Most installations are easy to do, and they also come with a DIY manual.
The largest benefit appears to be how overall they remove contaminants. The systems cost more, but they do a better job of removing chemicals from tap water.
The detriment of these systems boils down to cost and kitchen size. While they store easily under a sink, they still have a larger footprint than countertop filtration systems. Also, if users are renting and need to move, the installation may leave holes in their rental home. Owners may not appreciate the mess that they later may need to fix.
However, if it is for your personal home, it can be a great investment.
The benefit of countertop units is that they tend to have a smaller footprint, but you can’t conceal them. They will take up space on the counter or in the refrigerator. However, there are those with a sleeker, more compact design that won’t take up as much space as they once used to.
Some are great hot or cold, and they do remove contaminants well. The degree to which they work well depends on the machine and the type of filter they use.
The detriment is that it may not remove all contaminants in the water as well as an under the sink system may. They require a more frequent changing of the filters, and they don’t hold as much water. However, they are portable and easy to use.
Which one is right for you depends on how much water you drink in your home and what you want to remove from the water. Kitchen space also has a role to play in which one to select.
There are many good systems out there. Choose one that best fulfils your needs.