Whenever we buy a new appliance, we’re always looking for the one that ticks the most boxes. What if we told you there’s one appliance that can soften your skin, brighten your clothes, prevent mineral buildup, and make your home a safer and healthier place to be? A whole house water filter can do all this and more. Water touches every point in our lives, making it a worthwhile investment for your home. Below, we’ll walk you through the best whole house water filters available.
When looking to buy the best whole house water filter for you, there are a few things to consider. First, check the number of gallons the filter can process before needing replacement. Then, check the types of contaminants the filter can remove. Lastly, look for the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) seal to ensure you’re purchasing a high-quality product.
Two of the best whole house water filtration systems are the iSpring WGB21B (first-time users) and the Home Master Three Stage Water Filtration System (well water)
What to Look for in Your Whole House Water Filter System
There is a range of home water filters that can make a difference in your water quality. However, the best whole house water filter for your home will depend on a few factors.
First, you’ll want to consider which contaminants you’d like removed from your water. If your home is linked to municipal water, you’ll want to remove inorganic chemicals and disinfection byproducts such as fluoride, chlorine, arsenic, and lead. If you use well water, you’ll want to look for a filter that can handle bacteria, microorganisms, fertilizer nitrates, and other contaminants that can seep from the surface. To see a noticeable improvement, look for a filter that has 2 to 4 stages of filtration, and 5 to 1 microns of filtration power.
You’ll also want to take note of the amount of water your home uses and the water pressure required. As a rough guideline, the average American household uses 300 gallons of water a day. Therefore, a 100,000-gallon water filter can comfortably provide water for a family of four for a year. The port size of the filter can impact the water pressure of your home. Most homes need a port 1-inch in diameter.
Lastly, you’ll want to look for the NSF seal, which certifies a high-quality filter. Other than that, check for general specs such as required assembly, return policy, weight, size, and customer service record.
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iSpring WGB21B Water Filter
Best for First-Time Users
The iSpring can filter up to 15 gallons a minute and has standard 1” ports. It has two stages of filtration, which removes 95% of basic sediment, chlorine, pesticides, and VOCs. The 50,000-gallon capacity comfortably provides water to a family of four for over six months.CHECK PRICE
Home Master Three Stage Water Filtration System
Best for Well Water
Home Master is perfect for households that use well water. It is a budget-friendly yet powerful filter that can remove contaminants as small as 1 micron, which include some bacteria and microorganisms.CHECK PRICE
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
The Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System also called the “1,000,000 Gallon Rhino” is an easy, low-maintenance choice. With its ability to filter 1,000,000 gallons, this filter is sure to last your family nearly for ten years.CHECK PRICE
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3M AP904 Aqua-Pure
Best for Low-Contaminated Municipal Water
If your water is relatively clean but has a high-presence of fluoride, chlorine, and other disinfectants, this 5-micron filter is the perfect solution.CHECK PRICE
Express Water Heavy Metal Filter
Best for Removing Heavy Metals
With this filter, you can expect to see an improvement in the presence of iron, rust, lead, mercury, aluminum, and copper. It also removes insecticides, viruses, fungi, cloudiness, and odors.CHECK PRICE
Aquasana Whole House System w/ UV Purifier & Salt-Free Descaler
Best for Extra UV and Descaling Filtration
This Aquasana filter is a true water purification powerhouse. It’s got the most filter stages of any system on our list. The 1,000,000 gallon capacity of the filter allows you to install and forget about this filter for almost ten years to come.CHECK PRICE
Best Whole House Water Filter for First-Time Users: iSpring WGB21B
If you’ve never owned a whole home water filter, this iSpring WGB21B Water Filter is a great place to start. It can filter up to 15 gallons a minute and has standard 1” ports. It has two stages of filtration, which removes 95% of basic sediment, chlorine, pesticides, and VOCs. The 50,000-gallon capacity comfortably provides water to a family of four for over six months. At 15 pounds, it’s easy to move into your basement, doesn’t take much space, and boasts a simple installation.
- Basic Two-Stage Filtering (5 Micron)
- Weight: 15 pounds
- Size: 10 X 12 X 26 inches
- Affordable price
- Water Pressure: 15 GPM, 50,000 Gallon Capacity
- Easy Installation
- Great Customer Service
- Not suitable for Well Water
- Capacity: 50,000 Gallons
- Limited Warranty (1 Year)
This filter is designed to remove all the standard contaminants found in water. If you’re interested in improving the quality of your water, but not concerned about removing a specific pollutant, this general water filter is a great starting option. The two stages of filtration remove 95% of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), sediment, chlorine, and other contaminants that impact the taste and color of your water.
Easy Installation & Filter Changes
The system comes pre-assembled on a mounting bracket for easier DIY installation. You can also purchase hose connectors as an add-on. The hoses are designed to allow for easy connection to copper, CPVC, or Pex pipes without the use of glue, welding, clamps, or unions. The pressure release valve allows for the release of built-up pressure when changing filters.
iSpring offers lifetime tech support based in Georgia. Customers have reported that if there was a problem, iSpring quickly responded to their concerns and promptly shipped replacement parts when needed.CLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Best Whole House Water Filter for Well Water: Home Master Whole House
The Home Master Whole House Three Stage Water Filtration System is perfect for households that use well water. The Home Master is a budget-friendly yet powerful filter that can remove contaminants as small as 1 micron, which include some bacteria and microorganisms.
Although this system can seem imposing, there’s a good reason for its size. The higher the intensity of a filter, the longer the filtration takes – therefore lowering your GPM. The Home Mater Filter maintains a healthy GPM of 15 by compensating in size.
For a robust system that can handle the filter demands of well water while not sacrificing water pressure – the Home Master is the best choice.
- Three-Stage Filtering (1 Micron)
- Weight: 48 pounds
- Size: 15 X 8 X 18 inches
- Water Pressure: 15 GPM, 100,000 Gallon Capacity
- Works for Well Water
- Not for use with iron bacteria, acidic water (less than seven pH), or chlorinated city water (use model HMF2SmgCC for city water).
- Size: 24 X 9 X 25 inches (Large Size May Prevent Use for Some)
Nearly Maximum Filtration
If you’re a well-water household looking for peace of mind, look no further. This powerful filtration system can filter down to 1 micron. Its three-stage filtration works to remove well water contaminants.
The first multi-gradient sediment filter removes large sediment anywhere from 25 to 1 micron in size. The second filter works to lower iron levels in the water down to 3 parts per million. Finally, a carbon flow filter removes any remaining chemicals.
Its large capacity allows for 100,000 gallons to be filtered before replacement, making it a set and forget choice that saves you time and money on replacement. Despite its weight, many customers reported an easy and straightforward installation.CLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Best Long-Lasting Whole House Filter: Aquasana Whole House System
The Aquasana Whole House System also called the “1,000,000 Gallon Rhino” is an easy, low-maintenance choice. With its ability to filter 1,000,000 gallons, this filter is sure to last your family nearly for ten years. The pro kit also offers brass fittings, bend supports, and shut-off valves so you’ll have extra accessories on hand depending on the demands of your installation. Aquasana also offers add-ons such as UV filters and water descalers, if you decide to further purify your water in the future.
It should be noted that all filters will vary in longevity depending on the level of contamination and the rate of water consumption. However, buying a million-gallon capacity upfront ensures a distinct increase in filter life.
- Four Stage Filtering (3 Microns)
- Weight: 44.4 pounds
- Size: 9 X 46 X 44 inches
- Filter Longevity (1 million gallons, 10 years)
- Has 10-Year Warranty to Match Product Life
- Does not require drainage or backflushing
- Flow Rate: 7 GPM might be slow for some
- Pex Crimper needed for installation, difficult to DIY
1,000,000 Gallon Capacity
Drink easy knowing the Aquasana 1,000,000 Gal. Whole House Water Filter is designed to remove up to 97% of chlorine and reduce other harmful contaminants including. Once installed, this long-lasting filter can produce 1,000,000 gallons of clean water, which lasts the average family around ten years.
Although the filter can last for ten years, some individual filters will occasionally need to be changed out. The pre-filter should be replaced around every two months and the post-filter about every 4-5 months. Adding a shut-off valve before and after the filters makes for easy swapping.
High Quality Filter
The Aquasana system uses a pre-filter to remove rust, sediment, and silt. The activated carbon filter works to remove herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals. The copper-zinc and mineral stone reduces chlorine, heavy metals, and scale. Finally, the post-filter reduces any remaining sediment and organic particles. If you’re dealing with heavily chlorinated municipal water, this filter boasts 97% chlorine removal.CLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Best Whole House Water Filter for Low-Contaminated Municipal Water: 3M AP904 Aqua-Pure
The 3M AP904 Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filtration System is a great choice for municipal water connected homes. If your water is relatively clean but has a high-presence of fluoride, chlorine, and other disinfectants, this 5-micron filter is the perfect solution. The AP904 system uses scale inhibition, carbon block filtration to reduce sediment, chlorine taste, and odor, as well as scale buildup.
It’s lightweight and small size makes it easy to install. 3M is a household name, making it a brand you can trust for great filtration.
- 1 Stage-Filtering (5 Micron)
- Weight: 7.5 pounds
- Size: 6 X 6 X 27 inches
- Water Pressure: 20 GPM, 100,000 Gallon Capacity
- Can also be used for light commercial needs
- Doesn’t remove smaller impurities (VOCs, heavy metals, pesticides)
- Not meant for well water or highly contaminated water
Although this filter only has one stage, the upside is the high flow rate of 20 GPM. This makes it easy to run multiple taps without losing water pressure. 20 GPM is ideal for larger homes with multiple bathrooms or high water demand.
Easy Installation & Maintenance
The Sanitary Quick Change (SQC) design allows for easy cartridge change-outs without the need for a filter wrench. Cartridges don’t require contact with the filter which helps keep the cartridge sanitized during swap outs. The website compares the ease of installation and filter replacements to swapping out a lightbulb.
As a thoughtful touch, the AP904 includes an electronic countdown timer magnet that can remind you when to change the water filter’s cartridge. This way, you’ll know precisely when to replace your filter.CLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Best Whole House Water Filter for Removing Heavy Metals: Express Water Heavy Metal Filter
The Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter specializes in the removal of heavy metals from your water. With this filter, you can expect to see an improvement in the presence of iron, rust, lead, mercury, aluminum, and copper. This filter also removes insecticides, viruses, fungi, cloudiness, and odors.
This system is also particularly user-friendly. It’s clear first stage allows you to easily monitor your system and know when you need to replace your filters. Each filter is clearly labeled, meaning you won’t encounter confusion when it’s time to replace them.
- 3 Stage-Filtering (5 Micron)
- Weight: 65 pounds
- Size: 23.5 X 8.5 X 30 inches
- Water Pressure: 15 GPM, 100,000 Gallon Capacity
- User-Friendly Design
- Filter replacements can become expensive over time
Heavy Metal Removal
The first stage of the Express Water system is the sediment filter, and the third filter completes the process with a carbon block. The second filter is where the heavy metals are removed.
The second stage of the Express Water Filter is a kinetic degradation fluxion filter, labeled KDF. This stage removes iron, lead, arsenic, sulfur, algae, viruses, aluminum, and more.
This filter captures heavy metals by using high purity ionically charged copper and zinc granules. The design is meant to maximize chemical absorption.
Easy Installation and Maintenance
The Express Water system uses simple twist-off housings and drop-in filter design to take the hassle out of filter replacements. If you need filter removal mounting, there are three accessible pressure release buttons.
Each filter comes with its own pressure gauge, so you can easily pinpoint which filter is slowing down your system and needs replacement. Finally, the clear 1st stage filter makes it easy to see when it needs to be replaced without dismantling the system.CLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Best Whole House Filter for Extra UV and Descaling Filtration: Aquasana’s Whole House w/ UV Purifier & Salt-Free Descaler
If you’re ready to invest and you’re looking for one of the strictest filters available, this Aquasana system is the one for you. Aquasana’s Whole House Water Filter System w/ UV Purifier & Salt-Free Descaler is the best single purchase to cover a range of water filtrations.
This might be an expensive purchase for many. However, when you consider it can filter 1,000,000 gallons through a whopping six distinct filtration stages, the price is reasonable.
- 6 Stage-Filtering (0.35 Micron)
- Weight: 80 Pounds
- Size: 9 X 46 X 69 inches
- Water Pressure: 7 GPM, 1,000,000 Gallon Capacity
- Price may be prohibitive for some
- Not DIY Friendly
- Probably overkill if you have average municipal city water
- Beware: It’s incorrectly advertised as not needing electricity, but the UV filter does need to be plugged into an outlet.
Six Stage Filtration
This Aquasana filter is a true water purification powerhouse. It’s got the most filter stages of any system on our list. The six stages begin with the standard sediment pre-filter, which catches larger particles of rust, sediment, silt, and other pollutants. Then, a salt-free water conditioner helps descale water by preventing mineral buildup. The copper-zinc & mineral stone further filters the water of chlorine, heavy metals, and inhibits bacterial growth.
The activated carbon filter removes organic compounds often found in herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals. The post-filter removes remaining sediment. Finally, the UV filter removes up to 99% of bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms.
The 1,000,000 gallon capacity of the filter allows you to install and forget about this filter for almost ten years to come. If you’re interested in the six-stage filtration but want to save on cost, you can also purchase a 500,000 or 600,000-gallon filter with the same add-ons.
The two pieces that will need the most replacing include the bulb for the UV filter, and the pre-filter. The UV filter requires a special bulb that usually lasts around 9000 hours, meaning you should expect to replace it around once per year. The pre-filter needs to be replaced around every two months.CLICK TO CHECK PRICE
What does a Whole Home Water Filter Do and How Does it Work?
Whole house water filter systems produce high-quality water for the entire home from point-of-entry. By removing undesirable contaminants, whole home water filters provide cleaner, clearer, and safer water.
Whole house water filters usually work through a 4-step process. To notice a worthwhile change in water quality, you’ll want to choose filters that have three to four filtering stages.
First, a pre-filter removes larger particulates, contaminants, and impurities. Next, the filter removes chlorine and other chemicals from your water. Although chlorine is important to delivering water safely to your home, eliminating chlorine before use and consumption will improve the appearance, taste, and smell of your water.
This step is followed by filtering water through activated carbon, usually in the form of charcoal. Charcoal is highly effective at removing even the smallest impurities. Some filters will have a third filter stage, such as UV light, which can remove microorganisms. At this stage, the water is completely filtered and distributed around your home.
The filter completes the fourth and final step by flushing away wastewater either down the drain or into the hot water line. Filters that use reverse-osmosis produce more waste than filters that use UV light or activated charcoal.
Why have a Whole Home Water Filter instead of Just the Kitchen?
Although many homeowners focus on filtering kitchen water, water touches our lives far beyond doing the dishes.
Whole house filters can improve the quality of the water used for washing clothes, bathing, and other uses. Enhancing your water quality in these areas can make your clothes last longer, have softer hair and skin, and decrease mineral buildup on your appliances.
Whole home water filters can also prevent pipe rusting, discoloration of bathroom tiles porcelain, stains on silverware, and pipe clogging.
What should I know about my home before searching for a water filter?
When choosing a whole home water filter, consider the current water quality in your home, your water pressure needs, and how much water you consume.
Know Your Current Water Quality
Before you search for a filter, run a quality test on the water currently being used in your home. There are many inexpensive tools available that can help you determine which pollutants are entering your water supply and in what quantity.
Once you determine that, you can best choose a filter with the micron rating that addresses your needs. The higher the micron rating, the smaller the particulates it can catch.
For scale, the period at the end of this sentence is around 500 microns. Sand can be around 50 microns, whereas bacteria are around 3 microns. The best filters on the market can filter down to around 0.35 microns.
Know Your Home’s Water Pressure
You’ll also want to check the water pressure of your home. A whole house water filter that doesn’t compliment the flow rate of your home may cause unwelcome changes in water pressure. Your goal should be to buy a filter that has a slightly higher flow rate by around 1-2 gallons per minute (GPM).
If your filter has a lower GPM than your home, you’ll notice a decrease in water pressure. If your filter has a higher GPM, you risk leaks or bursting pipes.
Know How Much Water You Consume
Whole home water filters tend to measure longevity in how many gallons can be processed before the filter needs to be replaced. Longevity may vary slightly depending on the volume of contaminants in the water.
Check the rate of water your house consumes to ensure you’re getting a filter that can accommodate your needs without frequent replacements.
What should I look for in a Whole Home Water Filter?
15+ GPM Flow Rate
Flow rate will depend on the amount of water your home consumes. Your home may range anywhere from 15 GPM to 40 GPM. Anything less than 10 GPM is likely to leave you with less water pressure than before.
Filter Size & Lifespan
The larger the filter, the less often you’ll need to service it. Larger filters also allow for more water at a greater pressure. Most homes are happy with filters that can process 100,000 to 150,000 gallons of water before servicing.
Port size has more of an impact on water pressure than the size of the filter. You’ll generally want to look for a port size of 1 inch. If you have smaller pipes, filters don’t cause bottlenecks in pressure. However, you might want to look for a larger port size if you need water pressure beyond 25+ GPM.
Only Choose NSF and ANSI Certified Products
Lastly, be sure to look for NSF certified products. The NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), is an unbiased body which is overseen by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These government regulated entities make them an objective judge on high quality whole home water filters.
Which Whole Home Water Filter is Right for Me?
The reason there is so much variability in filters is that they specialize in catching different contaminants. Once you determine which contaminants are in your water, you can choose a filter that best addresses that problem. Common contaminants include arsenic, calcium, magnesium, iron, and microorganisms.
For example, an Ion Exchange filter can reduce the hardness of your water by removing calcium and magnesium. Softer water leads to softer skin and brighter clothes.
A UV filter can help eliminate 99% of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms from your water. This filter makes your water exceptionally safe to consume from all access points around the home.
UV filters can be a great peace of mind if you have children who like to get drinking water from bathroom sinks or play in bathwater.
FAQs for Whole Home Water Filters
What’s the difference between water softening vs. water filtration?
Water filters focus on removing contaminants from your water to make it cleaner and safer to consume. Filters can remove chlorine, pesticides, sediment, and other particulates.
Water softeners are designed only to remove calcium and magnesium. Water softeners can improve the taste of your water but don’t make it cleaner or safer to use.
For the most comprehensive water treatment, buy a water filter that includes a water softener as part of its process.
Do whole home water filters work for well water?
Homes that use well water can especially benefit from whole home water filters. Well water is more prone to having hydrogen sulfide, nitrates, bacteria, large sediment, and other contaminants in the water.
We’d recommend purchasing a water filter that filters down to 0.35 microns as well as a UV Filter for the ultimate water treatment and peace of mind.
Overall, the best whole house water filter is going to depend on your specific needs and budget. In our list, we tried to highlight different water filters that address a range of purifying requirements.
Even 1 to 2 stage filters can make a massive improvement in your water quality. Every micron that you filter beyond 5 microns can require more maintenance, more filters, and ultimately, more of your time and money.
We suggest you conduct a full audit of your water quality before committing to any given filter. There are many easy water quality tests you can run yourself. The highest quality tests will require you to send a sample to a lab, but it’s worth the effort. They usually turn around results 3-5 days after receiving your sample.
Regardless of which filter you choose, improving your quality of water ultimately improves your quality of life. Wait no longer to drink better tasting coffee, take gentler showers, increase the life of your clothes and appliances, and enjoy a healthier home all around.
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