The 7 best water filter jugs and water filters
Photo: Courtesy of the dealer
Even for those of us who like the taste of our tap water – greetings to the beautiful Esopus Creek that feeds New York City’s water supply – filtering your water can be of great benefit. The simplest of carbon filters can help remove chemicals like chlorine and metals like mercury, making your water safer to drink and taste better. Although municipal water supplies are regulated by the EPA, that’s only 90 chemicals, says Dr. Aly Cohen, Integrative Rheumatologist at the Faculty of Academy for Integrative Health and Medicine. There are many pollutants such as bacteria, agricultural sewage, microplastics, pharmaceutical residues, lead and other heavy metals that can still get into your drinking water. With the increasing number of natural disasters such as fires and floods due to climate change, more pollutants than ever get into our water systems – and thus into our tap water.
If you can’t install a full-fledged water filtration system under your sink (or aren’t looking for such a financial commitment), a water filter pitcher or countertop water filter is a good place to start. Not only do these filters purify your water at home, but they can also drastically reduce the amount of plastic waste you generate when purchasing individual water bottles on the go. It is also safer to drink filtered water from a reusable water bottle that you fill up at home than to drink water that has been left in plastic bottles in the back of an unrefrigerated truck or hot warehouse for who knows how long. “We really don’t know the history of our water in plastic until it comes to us,” says Cohen, explaining that harmful chemicals from single-use plastic bottles often end up in the water they contain.
But how do you know which of the many water filters on the market is right for you? To find out, we spoke to Cohen and eight other doctors, nutritionists, wellness experts, and water filter experts about the water filter jugs and water filters they recommend. Here are their picks:
Dr. Marisa Garshick says that the level of pollutants often depends on where you live. As such, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with the contents of your water, especially if someone in your family has health problems or a weakened immune system. If you are concerned that your water is contaminated, contact Danielle Ryan Broida, a registered herbalist and national educator at Four Sigmatic, recommends having it tested in a laboratory near you by calling the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or consulting testing options proposed by the EPA. Once you’re convinced you need a filter, Garshick suggests that NSF database to see exactly what each product is supposed to filter out. At home, she uses Brita’s Standard Everyday water filter jug that removes 99 percent of the lead and is certified to reduce chlorine, asbestos, mercury, benzene, cadmium and more. She says that this will make her water smell and taste better. She also loves that it is lightweight, fits in her refrigerator, and is affordable. B.aker Michelle Keldgord is also a fan of this Brita option. “Unfiltered water can negatively affect the overall taste and appearance of your baked goods because of the fluorine and chlorine,” she says. “These same harmful ingredients are particularly harmful to bread. Unfiltered water can alter the normal reaction of yeast and at the same time disrupt the gluten structure of the dough. In return, it slows the fermentation process, which results in bread not rising properly. ”Like Garshick, she loves that the Brita filter is economical, especially when you use the long-life filters that they only change every five to six months got to. And as a mom, she likes that it is really easy to use. “Changing the filter only takes a few seconds, and the lockable hinged lid makes pouring out so easy that even my 6-year-old can do it,” she says.
Paul Lewin, the founder of the website HomepageWaterResearch.com, recommends having your water professionally tested to choose the right filter. “Here in Ho Chi Minh City, where I live, the biggest concerns are chlorine added by the city and bacteria from poorly maintained pipes contaminated by groundwater,” he says. After testing over fifty different water filters for his website, he now uses the Epic Water Nano on a daily basis. The submicron nanofiber filter has been tested by outside laboratories and is NSF certified to remove up to 99.999 percent of all tap water contaminants, including bacteria, cysts, cryptosporidium, heavy metals, fluorides and other chemicals. Aside from keeping its water safe to drink, it improves its taste and smell, and helps reduce the amount of plastic it wastes. “A lot of families here use dozens of plastic water bottles every week. The fact that I don’t have to carry bottles into my apartment is also easy on my legs, ”he says.
Wellness expert Kyrie Luke has two different water filters at home: a stainless steel Berkey countertop filter (we’ll talk about that later) and this Propur jug. As someone with what she calls “highly polluted water”, her clean drinking water is important for health reasons, but also because she ferments a lot and bakes sourdough bread. “We used that until we graduated from Berkey. I love that it’s more compact and that each filter lasts up to six months. I don’t like that the jug is plastic, but the benefits of filtration outweigh the associated disadvantages, ”she says. This filter jug is NSF certified and independently laboratory tested and has been shown to reduce over 200 contaminants including fluoride, chlorine, chloramines, VOCs, bacteria, pharmaceuticals, lead and heavy metals.
Like Lewin, Brian Campbell also started a website. To be means waterfilterguru.com, and it is dedicated to educating people about water filtration. This clear filtered water jug is his favorite as it has the best contaminant removal ability he has seen on the market. It’s NSF certified and, according to the brand, removes over 270 contaminants while preserving healthy minerals like calcium and magnesium. He also says, “I really like the water stop in the top container that allows you to pour out filtered water even after you’ve refilled it. The filter cartridge itself should last four months, depending on the spring water used. And it even has a lifetime guarantee. So if it ever breaks, Clearly Filtered will replace it for free. “
Several people, including Broida and Dr. Michelle Jantzen, mentioned using a Larq water bottle to purify water from taps or drinking fountains on the go. While the aforementioned water filter jugs use gravity and materials like activated carbon or nanofibers to catch contaminants and keep them out of the water you drink, Larq uses UVc technology to cleanse certain microorganisms like cysts and giardia that could make you sick, to zap and kill. Larq’s portable (and popular with strategists) water bottle doesn’t have a filter to remove the chemicals, VOCs and heavy metals that UV light can’t kill, but the brand’s new UV water filter jug does. Jantzen uses a reverse osmosis water filtration system to purify her water at home, but if she had to decide on a water filtration pitcher it would be the Larq.
Everyone we spoke to agreed that reverse osmosis filtration systems, such as those used by Jantzen, are best at removing most of the contaminants from the water. Cohen points out that hospitals and doctors in the United States use reverse osmosis to prepare water for dialysis. Instead of letting gravity push contaminated water through a filter, reverse osmosis filters use pressure and different types of filters to purify your water. A disadvantage of this method is that it can waste a lot of water. Another is the cost and logistics of the installation. Third generation plumber Gerald Zimmermann often works with clients who live in areas with mineral-rich and highly chlorinated water. If the budget for a full-fledged reverse osmosis system is not enough, he recommends this top-mounted version with a water jug. “It is currently the most effective solution to water purification, even for those who live in regions with the dirtiest water,” he says. The KFLOW Countertop Reverse Osmosis System uses a four-stage filtration process and removes over 1,000 contaminants from tap water, including heavy metals, chlorine, microorganisms, bacteria, viruses and pharmaceutical residues.
Three of the nine people we spoke to own and recommend a Berkey countertop water filter. Luke says that after a lot of research and deliberation, it is the best water filter based on the contaminants filtered, the filter’s longevity, and value for money. Broida agrees and tells us that she loves her Berkey filter “because the filters last three years, it’s made of stainless steel (not plastic), and you can filter three to six gallons of water very quickly.” Autumn Blum, CEO of the Clean skin care brand Stream2Sea, has both a home reverse osmosis system and a Berkey filter for emergencies when the power goes out. Unlike other filters, Berkey designed its filters to both trap large contaminants such as heavy metals and to attract the molecules of certain microscopic contaminants such as viruses to the filter material like a magnet, preventing them from getting into your drinking water.
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