Clean water is key for a healthy body. But it’s a sad fact that most tap water is filled with unhealthy contaminants and chemicals.
Let’s take a look at the best water filters for your whole house, kitchen, shower, and bath so you can protect yourself and your family. Spoiler: bottled water is NOT the solution and yes, shower and bathtub water filters are important! Here’s why…
Water is vital to life and good health. And, goodness, are we told to drink up!
Getting a cold? Drink some water.
Want clearer skin? Drink some water.
Trying to lose weight? Drink some water.
Stub your toe? Drink some water. (OK, so that one is more of a distraction technique)
Related: Hydration 101
But while water is inherently healthy, it is an irony of modern times that most tap water is also a significant source of pollutants.
The Environmental Working Group recently conducted a three-year study that assessed 20 million drinking water quality tests performed by 48,712 water utilities in all 50 US states. They found a total of 316 contaminants in water that was supplied to 256 million Americans (78%) in 45 different states.
What are these contaminants? Where do they come from? They’re agricultural pollutants (pesticides and herbicides), industrial chemicals (gasoline additives, , and byproducts of the water treatment processes.
Of the contaminants, only 114 were subject to government regulation or safety standards as set by the EPA (Environmental protection Agency). Frighteningly, the other 202 were not.
Should we be concerned? Do these contaminants impact our health? Yes and yes. Of the 316 contaminants found in EWG’s study…
- 93 were linked to an increased risk of cancer
- 78 were associated with brain and nervous system damage
- 63 were connected to developmental harm to children or fetuses
- 45 were either known endocrine disruptors or linked to hormonal disruption
- 38 were linked to infertility
The bottom line: a high-quality water filter is an absolute must.
And no, bottled water isn’t the solution!
Not only is bottled water not nearly as strictly regulated as tap water, but almost 50% of bottled water *IS* municipal tap water that has not been treated or filtered in any special way.
And not only are single-use plastic water bottles a significant source of environmental pollution, but they pollute our bodies too — the plasticizers or chemicals used to make the bottles leach into the water and eventually find their way into our bodies.
Plus, the cost of bottled water is more than the cost of gasoline — sold to people at 1,900 times the price of municipal tap water yet… I repeat: almost half of all bottled water is simply municipal tap water that has been packaged in little plastic bottles that not only pollute our planet but our bodies, too!
To learn more, see my blog post 5 Reasons Why Bottled Water is Unhealthy, Environmentally Unfriendly, & a Complete Joke (true, true, and true).
It’s also important to filter our shower and bath water.
The majority of our exposure to a particular group of common water contaminants known as trihalomethanes (THMs) — water disinfection byproducts — is from showering and/or bathing.
This is because they vaporize much more quickly and at a lower temperature than water.
Plus, inhaling these chemicals is more dangerous than drinking them since it goes directly into our blood stream, whereas our bodies’ natural detox pathways help protect us from contaminants in drinking water.
These chemicals can also more easily penetrate our skin while showering and/or bathing since the heat opens our pores.
For example, the National Toxicology Program found that drinking water caused little elevation in blood levels of chloroform (one of the most common THMs) while showing in that same water increased the concentration of chloroform in the blood increased 2 to 7 times!
But not not all water filters are created equally.
Some filter out just the basics or what NSF International — a non-profit organization that has stepped in to create minimum requirements for the safety and performance of water filters since no federal regulations exist for home filtration systems — considers “aesthetic impurities” that affect the taste and smell of the water, including chlorine.
Other more in-depth, quality filters remove bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, fluoride, flame retardants (PFOA and PFOS), and more. These are the filters worth spending your hard-earned money on!
A quick note about fluoride…
70% of the American water supply is fluoridated. This is essentially mass medication, since the intent of fluoridation is to benefit our dental health.
This is not a practice that most other developed countries have not adopted, and growing amount of research suggests that fluoridated water increases the risk of serious health conditions like arthritis, damage to the developing brain of infants and children, reduced thyroid function, and possibly osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in adolescent males.
And ironically, fluoridation is also the primary cause of dental fluorosis, a discoloration of the teeth that is caused by excessive fluoride intake.
I personally believe fluoride is doing more harm than good and should be removed from our drinking water.
So let’s take a look at the best water filters for your particular needs: for the whole house, kitchen, shower, and bathtub.
Whole house water filters are a great option for homeowners — though you may still want to use a drinking water filter in addition since whole house filters are limited in their purification abilities — while renters will want to opt for separate filters for the kitchen and bathroom.
Bonus! Let’s also look at some on-the-go solutions for when you’re traveling or otherwise out of the house.
Best Whole House Water Filters
Whole water filter systems remove contaminants from the water served to your entire house: water from the kitchen sink, showers, bathtubs, bathroom sinks, and even washing machine. Yes, this is fantastic!
But that being said, whole house water filtration systems are limited in their capabilities when compared to some of the more advanced drinking water filters. A bummer, I know! So if you’re particularly concerned about your drinking water, you may still want to consider using a drinking water filter in the kitchen as well.
AQUASANA WHOLE HOUSE WATER FILTER
This whole house system removes 97% of chlorine for 600,000 gallons or 6 years. It also reduces heavy metals, and there’s an optional upgrade to include a Sterilight UV Filter which kills over 99% of bacteria and viruses (which I recommend).
Even with the cost of the pre-filter (which needs to be changed every 2 months), post-filter, and the electricity required for the UV filter, it’s still a great price for the value. Plus, the company offers a 10-year limited warranty.
Where to get it: $599.99 from Aquasana
NOTE: They have different options for municipal water and well water. I also suggest calling the company before making a purchase to talk through how your local municipality sanitizes your water to ensure you’re choosing the best option.
Best Drinking Water Filters For the Kitchen
What about your refrigerator water filter? Is that enough?
BERKEY WATER FILTER
My personal water filter of choice… and the water filter of Doomsday Preppers! And those people mean BUSINESS. (Check out their YouTube videos for a bit of fun and to see what Berkey water filters can do!) These filters can actually be used in an emergency to filter everything from pool water to creek or flood water. Hence why the Preppers love it! I joke about this but it’s truly a testament to the quality of the filtration.
Berkey water filters are a bit different than what you may be used to. They’re made of stainless steel and sit on the countertop — you pour the water into the top chamber, gravity takes the water through the filters, and the filtered water collects in the bottom chamber.
Berkey filters remove the highest amount of toxins while leaving the necessary minerals in the water, as well as over 99% of pathogenic bacteria. The fluoride attachment filters (which I recommend) reduce fluoride up to 95%. It’s truly the absolute best water filter option for the price.
And while it seems like a pretty significant upfront investment, Berkey water filters are extremely cost-effective: about 1.6 cents per gallon! Take a look at this comparison with some other popular filters:
You can learn more about the technology behind Berkey water filters HERE.
Where to get it
- Big Berkey (2-4 person household): $321 with fluoride filters from Berkey Filters
- Royal Berkey (4-6 person household): $346 with fluoride filters from Berkey Filters
NOTE: Berkey water filtration systems cannot currently be shipped to California or Iowa. If you want one, I’d suggest getting it shipped to a friend or family member out of state, and paying for them to ship it to you. It’s an additional expense, but again, a Berkey is actually really economical over the long run so it’s worth it.
RADIANT LIFE UNDER-SINK 14-STAGE WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM
This is an insanely comprehensive under-sink water filtration system — hence the higher price tag. The 14 stages are as follows:
- Stage 1 – Five Micron Pre-Filter
- Stage 2 – Internal Coconut Shell Carbon Filter
- Stage 3 – Reverse Osmosis Membrane (Purifier #1)
- Stage 4 – Mixed Bed De-Ionization Purifier (Purifier #2)
- Stage 5 – Mixed Bed De-Ionization Purifier (Purifier #3)
- Stages 6 & 7 – Homeopathic Restructuring – Erasing Memory, Molecule Coherence
- Stage 8 – Holding Tank – standard tank holds about 3 gallons of pure water. Other tanks are available.
- Stage 9 – Ultraviolet Light – 14 Watt
- Stage 10 – Reprogramming – Adding Natural Mineral Properties
- Stages 11-12 – Far-Infrared Reprogramming
- Stage 13 – Coconut Shell Carbon Post-Filtration
- Stage 14 – Alka-Min (Alkalizing, Ionic Remineralization)
The triple filters remove over 99% of all chlorine, chloramines, fluoride, lead, and pharmaceutical residues.
Note stage 14. Whereas most reverse-osmosis systems remove healthy minerals from water, this unique system actually remineralizes the water in this last stage. This is extremely important!
If you don’t want to clutter your countertops with a Berkey and have the budget for it, this is absolutely the best under-sink water filtration system I’ve researched.
Where to get it: $1,695 from Radiant Life
CLEARLY FILTERED WATER FILTER PITCHER
This is by far the best water filter pitcher. Yes, far and away superior to the Brita or Pur water filters which to be quite honest… don’t filter all that much!
It’s the only filter that has been independently tested to NSF standards 42, 53, 244, 401 & 473.
I personally would invest in a Berkey over this pitcher, but this is a great option for college students, those with very limited counter space, or a very limited budget. That being said, water filter pitchers actually cost more in the long run since you have to replace the filters so frequently.
Where to get it: $75 on Amazon
Best Shower Water Filters
BERKEY SHOWER WATER FILTER
Of course Berkey makes a fantastic shower filter option, too! This shower filter removes up to 95% of chlorine, and also reduces hydrogen sulfide and pathogens. Each filter has a lifespan of 20,000 gallons, or about one year of use.
Where to get it: $65 from Berkey Filters
AQUASANA SHOWER WATER FILTER WITH WAND
Another great shower filter option that removes over 90% of chlorine and reduces volatile organic compounds.
If you’re looking for a shower water filter with a wand, you’ll want one of these Aquasana shower water filters.
Where to get it: $54.99 from Aquasana
AQUASANA SHOWER WATER FILTER WITH NO HEAD
If you’d rather attach your own showerhead, you’ll want this Aquasana shower water filter option. Again, it removes over 90% of chlorine and reduces volatile organic compounds.
Where to get it: $54.99 from Aquasana
Best Bathtub Water Filter
NOTE: Bath filters are the most difficult to find. The available options don’t seem to filter many contaminants or come with adequate documentation of their efficacy, and they are a bit clunky. I personally fill the tub via my filtered showerhead.
RAINSHOW’R CRYSTAL BALL BATH DECHLORINATOR
This isn’t a traditional filter in that you don’t attach it to the spout. Instead, you let it float in the bathtub for 5 to 8 minutes before getting it. Is removes up to 100% of free chlorine and 30% of chloramine. One ball will last you 200 baths, after which point you’ll need to change the filter.
Where to get it: $44.25 from Radiant Life
Best Water Filter While On-the-Go
GRAYL ULTRALIGHT WATER BOTTLE WITH FILTER
This bottle is so well designed and smart. Whereas other filtered water bottles usually require you to suck through a straw or mouthpiece attached to a filter which slows the flow of water and can get really frustrating, GRAYL bottles work like a French press to filter an entire bottle of water in just 15 seconds.
Plus, of all the options I’ve researched it filters the most contaminants by far. It removes 99.9% of viruses (like hepatitis A, SARS, rotavirus), 99.9% of disease-causing bacteria (like E. coli, salmonella, cholera), and 99.9% of protozoan cysts (e.g. Giardia, Cryptosporidium). It also filters particulates like sediment and silt as well as chlorine, benzene, and heavy metals.
Where to get it: $59.95 on Amazon
Do you filter your water? Considering doing do now!?
Do you have any of the filters mentioned here? Any experience to share with us?
Please join the conversation in the comments below!