The Best Faucet-Mounted Water Filter of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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Faucet-mounted water filters eliminate many more contaminants than pitcher filters do, last longer between replacements, and give you filtered water from the sink on demand. After months of in-home testing, we’ve concluded that the Pur Advanced Faucet Filtration System is the one we’d choose for our own kitchens. It removes a wider array of contaminants than its competitors from Brita do, and it looks better, too. Best Water Filter

The Best Faucet-Mounted Water Filter of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

With 71 ANSI/NSF certifications, the Pur Advanced system is the top-performing faucet-mounted filter available.

The Pur Basic filter is certified for 71 contaminants, including lead. A two-pack is enough for 200 gallons, or about six months.

The MineralClear filters have the same 71 certifications and add a (supposed) flavor-improving element. A four-pack is good for 400 gallons, or about a year.

In an unusual turn for Wirecutter, we tested only one other model for this guide, the Brita Complete Faucet Filtration System. That’s because Pur and Brita offer the only faucet-mounted filters we’ve found that are certified to NSF/American National Standards Institute standards and are widely available in North America.

With 71 ANSI/NSF certifications, the Pur Advanced system is the top-performing faucet-mounted filter available.

The Pur Basic filter is certified for 71 contaminants, including lead. A two-pack is enough for 200 gallons, or about six months.

The MineralClear filters have the same 71 certifications and add a (supposed) flavor-improving element. A four-pack is good for 400 gallons, or about a year.

The Pur Advanced faucet-mounted filter is ANSI/NSF certified for 71 contaminants, including lead, mercury, many pesticides and industrial chemicals, and 12 “emerging compounds” (PDF) that are increasingly found in US drinking-water supplies. That puts it well ahead of Brita’s faucet filters, which are certified for 56 contaminants. The Pur filter is easy to install on a standard faucet (but be aware that no faucet-mounted filters will work on those with integrated pull-out sprayers). Over months of heavy testing, the Pur Advanced proved durable, never developing leaks or other hardware problems, and its built-in flow meter and indicator light automatically signal when it’s time to replace the filter cartridge. Finally, since the Pur Advanced system is available in multiple finishes, you have a better chance of matching it with your kitchen’s hardware than you do the Brita.

Faucet-mounted water filters provide filtered water on demand, making them an option for households that go through a lot of drinking water every day or for folks who want to cook or wash dishes with filtered water in addition to drinking it. Faucet-mount filters remove more contaminants than most pitcher filters, including our picks in that category, because the water pressure in the pipes means the filters can be denser and thus more effective. And the filters last longer than pitcher filters, typically three months or 100 gallons versus two months or 40 gallons.

But faucet filters have a few downsides to consider. They cannot be installed on faucets with integral pull-out sprayers—only on traditional one-piece faucets. Their water-delivery rate is not great (usually around half a gallon a minute), so it takes a while to fill a pot or a large drinking bottle. Most filter installations include a way to toggle between using the filter and using the regular tap, but if you accidentally run hot tap water through the filter, it can be damaged. If these drawbacks deter you from choosing a faucet-mounted filter, an under-sink filter may be a better option. This type of filter connects directly to the cold-water line, so there’s no risk of ruining the filter with hot water, and installing an under-sink model is only slightly more involved than mounting a faucet filter. Note, though, that neither faucet-mount nor under-sink filters dispense water as cold as you’d get from a pitcher in the fridge.

There are three final points that pertain to all types of water filter. First, you may not need one. Your water utility (if you are on a public system) is required to provide a Consumer Confidence Report, or CCR, that lists every contaminant it has tested for in the water supply, as well as the level the test found and whether that level meets Environmental Protection Agency standards. Usually you can find your local supplier’s CCR online, but they’re not always easy to track down; if it’s not on your supplier’s site, contact your supplier and request it.

Second, no faucet, pitcher, or under-sink filter should be considered a permanent solution to a chronic water problem such as elevated lead levels. If you have a chronic problem, you can use a filter as a temporary solution while you work on a permanent fix.

Finally, water that tests clean in the municipal pipes can still become contaminated as it makes its way to and through your home, as happened in Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey. In both cases, old supply pipes and in-home plumbing leached lead into the water. If you want to be totally sure of what’s in the water that emerges from your faucets, we recommend a home water test kit.

For all of our water-filter guides, we rely (and insist) on ANSI/NSF certifications. If a filter is ANSI/NSF certified, that means it has been tested in an accredited lab and has been found to reduce a given contaminant below the EPA-mandated level for drinking water. The tests are extremely rigorous: The filters are fed “challenge solutions,” each containing elevated levels of the contaminant being tested for, and are pushed beyond their official capacities—filtering a volume of challenge solution between 120% and 200% of the volume of tap water they are rated to treat. After that, to be certified, they must still reduce the challenge-solution contaminant to a level below the EPA limit.

In the case of faucet filters, our insistence on certification allowed us to narrow the available options to just two: those from Brita and those from Pur. Few other ANSI/NSF-certified faucet filters are available in North America, and none have anywhere near as many certifications. We also dismissed some uncertified options.

We called in a model from each company. Brita makes two different housings for its faucet filters, the Basic and Complete; the latter version lets you toggle the water flow between three different settings, and that’s the model we tested. Otherwise, they are identical, and they use the same filter.

Pur offers two different housings, a horizontally oriented one (the Basic and Advanced models) and a vertical one (the Classic). Despite the different names, the versions perform the same when it comes to filtering water because they all use the same filters. Pur makes two filters, the Basic and the MineralClear. They have identical ANSI/NSF certifications and can work in any of the Pur housings; the MineralClear simply contains an additional calcium carbonate (limestone, by its common name) filter that, in theory, adds a “springwater” taste back to the filtered water, as a Pur product manager told us. We tested the Advanced model, which comes with a MineralClear filter.

We installed the Brita in a New York City apartment and the Pur in a home with mineral-heavy well water in the Catskills. We then used the filters for several months, noting any positive and negative aspects of each—from basic aesthetics to ease of installation to reliability, durability, and, of course, any perceived impact on water quality and taste. Combining the results of this process with the filters’ ANSI/NSF certifications produced a clear winner.

With 71 ANSI/NSF certifications, the Pur Advanced system is the top-performing faucet-mounted filter available.

The Pur Advanced Faucet Filtration System is our pick for faucet-mounted filters. It is ANSI/NSF certified to reduce, below EPA limits, 71 contaminants including lead, mercury, multiple pesticides and industrial chemicals, and a dozen so-called emerging compounds of EPA concern in drinking water, among them pharmaceuticals, BPA, and estrone, a form of the human hormone estrogen. That’s notably better than its competitor from Brita, which has 56 certifications, none of them for emerging compounds.

We found the Pur Advanced easy to install, drip-free, and durable under heavy use, and we preferred its sleek design to that of the Brita, which is utilitarian and visually bulky. Lastly, in addition to filtering the 71 certified contaminants, the Pur continued to improve the taste and smell of our Catskills tester’s sulfurous well water for several weeks after the whole-house carbon-block filter that he normally uses to control the issue stopped doing its job. That was a pleasant surprise, since sulfur compounds are not among the Pur filter’s certifications, and removing them from water is not something this sort of filter is expected to be capable of.

The complete list of contaminants the Pur faucet filters are ANSI/NSF certified for, found in the owner manual (PDF), include many that may already be on your mind: the toxic metals lead and mercury; multiple volatile organic compounds (VOCs); multiple pesticides, including 2,4-D; and 12 “emerging compounds” that are increasingly showing up in the water supply, including the plastic additive BPA, the insect repellent DEET, and the widely used flame retardants TCPP and TCEP. The filters are rated for three months or 100 gallons, and the housing contains a flowmeter so you’ll know exactly when they reach their 100-gallon limit; a small LED on the housing turns from green to yellow (time’s almost up) to red (time to replace).

Installing the Pur Advanced is simple—but again, no faucet filter works on faucets with integrated pull-out sprayers. On standard, no-sprayer faucets, you just unscrew the aerator (where the water flows out of the faucet) and screw in the correct adapter. Pur supplies several adapters to match the various sizes and threading patterns of most aerators. (Our tester had no trouble installing his test model on a fairly old faucet.) Then you simply screw the filter housing into place on the adapter.

To use the Pur Advanced faucet filter (and any other), you flip a toggle on the housing to direct the water through the filter and out a separate dispenser, and you flip it back the other way to send regular, unfiltered water out of the faucet. That’s a practical design for a couple of reasons. For one, the filtered-water flow (0.52 gallon per minute) is lower than the normal faucet flow (typically around 2 gpm), so when you need a lot of water fast—filling a pot, say, or doing the dishes—it’s helpful to have the option to use the faucet itself. Second, because hot water can damage many water filters—anything over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the Pur filters’ case—you need to be able to bypass the filter when you want hot water out of the tap. Of course, this also means you have to be mindful when you want to toggle to the filtration setting: If you’ve just been drawing hot water from your faucet, switch the tap to cold for a few seconds first to clear the pipes.

The Pur filter stood up to heavy usage without developing any problems such as leaks—which was not the case for the Brita filter we also tested. “Since we have a lot of power outages that affect our ability to get water from the well, my husband and I make it a habit to regularly fill two 1½-gallon water bottles, so we always have extra water on hand,” our Pur tester wrote in his summary notes. “We refill them approximately every two days, so we were working the filters pretty hard.” Under that workload—to which our tester added regular daily fillings of glasses and coffee pots—the filters hit their 100-gallon limit in about six weeks, versus the three-month rule of thumb that Pur suggests. Just something to bear in mind if your household goes through a lot of water. Replacement filters cost about $10 (Basic) or $11 (MineralClear) apiece.

The Pur Basic filter is certified for 71 contaminants, including lead. A two-pack is enough for 200 gallons, or about six months.

The MineralClear filters have the same 71 certifications and add a (supposed) flavor-improving element. A four-pack is good for 400 gallons, or about a year.

The Pur Advanced model that we tested is available in three finishes: shiny chrome, brushed metallic gray, and a tropical blue called seaglass. Each Advanced model comes with a MineralClear filter. The otherwise physically identical Classic model comes in black or white (and includes the Basic filter, which has the same ANSI/NSF certifications). Our tester installed a chrome-finish Advanced and liked its “almost deco” design, though he was quick to point out that other finishes, such as the metallic gray version we photographed for this review, don’t achieve that same effect.

All of Pur’s faucet mounts fit both the Basic and MineralClear filters; the latter contains a calcium carbonate (limestone) filter that is meant to add a pleasant, mineral-y, spring-water flavor back to the filtered water. Our tester did not notice the effect, but flavor addition is not as gimmicky as it may sound—in fact, it’s a common practice for filter makers to add such flavor enhancers to reverse-osmosis filters, which remove virtually all minerals from the water that passes through them, rendering it flavorless and flat.

Our tester found that “the constant slight pressure you place on the filter’s valve to turn on the filtered water caused our faucet to start to come loose at its base a couple of times.” He continued: “Another contributing factor is that the shiny chrome gets dirty easily, so you’re constantly wiping it clean, which applies more pressure. It was easily fixed by tightening the faucet base whenever we noticed it happening, and I’m not sure if the same thing would happen for someone with a better faucet, but it was a mild annoyance.”

He added that the Pur’s horizontal orientation can be an issue in very small sinks, as the filter takes up a lot of real estate under the faucet. If the sink is shallow, for instance, getting a glass beneath the spout can be difficult if anything else is sitting in the basin. For our tester, it was a good incentive to keep dishes from piling up.

We also tested the Brita Complete Faucet Filtration System. In contrast to the other model in the Brita lineup, the Basic Faucet Filtration System, it lets you set the faucet to both a normal flow and, additionally, a spray pattern. That also sets it apart from Pur’s filters, which lack the spray option. Beyond that feature, however, we much prefer the Pur Advanced model. Pur’s faucet filters have significantly more ANSI/NSF certifications. The Brita filter is also not certified for mercury, whereas the Pur filters are. In our testing, the Brita persistently dripped, which led to a pink film on the filter housing, possibly the bacteria Serratia marcescens, which is often found in damp sinks and showers. (The water was draining out of the saturated filter; the faucet does not leak.) Finally, the Pur Advanced has a lower-profile design and a sleek shape that we like much better than the Brita Complete’s blocky, upright form.

The Pur Classic Faucet Filtration System uses the same filters as the Advanced but has a chunky vertical design that we don’t like nearly as much.

The Waterdrop WD-FC-01 is ANSI/NSF certified only for chlorine and for taste and odor; it is not certified to reduce lead, despite what the title on the Amazon product page suggests. The same holds true for the similar WD-FC-03 and WD-FC-06, a stainless steel version. (They all use the same filter element.)

Culligan’s FM-25 (chrome) and FM-15A (white) are ANSI/NSF certified for only seven contaminants: chlorine, particulate Class I, cyst, turbidity, lead, lindane, and atrazine.

The iSpring DF1-WT, DF2-CL, and DF2-CHR have no ANSI/NSF certifications.

Tim Heffernan is a senior staff writer focusing on air and water quality and home energy efficiency. A former writer for The Atlantic, Popular Mechanics, and other national magazines, he joined Wirecutter in 2015. He owns three bikes and zero derailleurs.

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The Best Faucet-Mounted Water Filter of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Commercial Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).