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Which whole-home water filtration systems are best?

Water is essential for good health and healthy cooking. Every home has access to tap water, but not all tap water tastes the same. Plus, some people worry about potential contaminants in the water leading many people to choose to use bottled water instead, but this option can be expensive over the long run and is environmentally hazardous. 

Another option is to invest in a whole-home water filtration system that purifies tap water and returns it clean and ready for drinking and cooking. There are many options available to homeowners, but for its ability to return lost minerals back into drinking water, the Home Master Artesian Full Contact system is the top recommendation.

What to know before you buy a whole-home water filtration system

Know the differences in water filtration systems

There are different styles of water filtration systems. Whole-house systems involve connecting the filter at the main water line and then pairing with another filter to help rid the tap water of contaminants.

Other types of water filtration systems have smaller units that either fit underneath a sink or attach directly to the faucet and filter the water coming through the pipes. These filters can remove chemicals, bacteria and some heavy metals, but they are only filtering water at the source, not the entire house.

Know the differences in water filters

Reverse osmosis systems are considered one of the best by reversing the water flow through a filter. These are common with whole-house systems, but they can waste water.

Activated carbon filters remove contaminants by absorbing them into the filter. These are most common with under the sink systems.

There also are distillation systems that boil water and capture the condensed steam and the associated contaminants. It is not uncommon for some systems to combine multiple filter styles.

Know what is in your water

It is recommended to have your water tested ahead of installing a whole-house water filtration system so you can use the best type of filter and continue to measure the system’s efficacy over time with follow-up testing. There are retail companies that will test your water for a fee, and some state health departments offer free tests. There are also at home tests that use chemical reagents in the form of drops or test strips to check for certain impurities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also publishes annual reports about water quality in municipalities across the country. If you live in a town with city-supplied water, see what the EPA has to say about your water quality.

What to look for in a quality whole-home water filtration system

Automatic shut-off

Some systems come with a built-in detector that monitors if a leak has developed that could lead to a flood or damage to the equipment. When a leak is detected, the system shuts off as a preventive measure.

Filter alert

Some systems have the convenient feature of an alert when the filter needs to be changed. It is usually a light or sound that indicates the filter is saturated and a new one is required. This helps maintain efficiency with the unit and maximizes that filtration process.

Filter replacement

Since replacing the filter is one of the most regular things you will do with your system, look for filters that are easily removed and replaced. Many come with a twist-and-pull filter, but some reverse osmosis units are a bit more complex especially when the membrane needs to be replaced every few years.

How much you can expect to spend on a whole-home water filtration system

Whole-home water filtration system prices are driven by the number of filter stages used, so a basic two-filter system runs $90-$130 all the way to a seven-stage system that will cost between $275-$500. A mid-level four or five-stage system will cost between $175-$220.

Whole-home water filtration system FAQ

Is NSF certification important?

A. Yes, look for systems that have been approved by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This independent organization tests the water filtration systems to verify that they really remove the contaminants they claim to remove. The NSF seal gives consumers assurance that they are buying a product that does what it says.

Is it acceptable to let my filter go past its replacement date?

A. Check your manufacturer’s guidelines and try to replace your filter when a certain date or water volume has been reached. Waiting too long to change a filter can significantly affect its ability to remove impurities.

What’s the best whole-home water filtration system to buy?

Top whole-home water filtration system

Home Master Artesian Full Contact

Home Master Artesian Full Contact

What you need to know: This comprehensive reverse osmosis system returns minerals to drinking water and typically needs the filter changed only once annually.

What you’ll love: Seven filtration stages remove 98 percent of contaminants, and it also includes a non-electric permeate pump to reduce waste. The filter works for 2,000 gallons of water and the system adds calcium and magnesium to the water.

What you should consider: It is one of the most expensive systems but its quality and longevity typically are worth it in the long run.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top whole-home water filtration system for the money

APEC Roes-50 Essence Series

APEC Roes-50 Essence Series

What you need to know: This affordable filtration system offers high-tech purification and simple filter replacement.

What you’ll love: The filter removes 99 percent of contaminants in tap water, and the solid metal design limits noise and keeps tubes from kinking. It is designed to save water and has an automatic shut-off feature.

What you should consider: This system does not return removed minerals to the drinking water.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

iSpring 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

iSpring 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

What you need to know: This water filtration system is easy to install and offers purification as well as odor removal and taste improvement.

What you’ll love: The first stage removes sediments, and the second stage removes contaminants that cause bad taste and odors. The filter can provide up to a full year of filtration for a household, and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee and an extended warranty.

What you should consider: There were some concerns that the filters needed to be replaced much sooner than what was expected.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot


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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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