Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 45 models in water filters to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
Overall score is based mainly on effectiveness at removing lead, chloroform, and bad taste.
Lead removal indicates the percentage of lead that was removed by each filter.
Chloroform removal rates the percentage of chloroform removed. A filter's ability to remove chloroform predicts how well it will remove organic compounds as well as byproducts created by disinfectants used by water systems.
Flow rate is how fast a gallon of water filtered through the cartridge. The criteria for flow rate scores differ between different types of filters. Faucet-mount, countertop, and undersink models have the same criterion; carafes and reverse osmosis models each have their own.
Clogging measures how well the filter retains its flow rate over time and whether it stopped flowing completely before its claimed life span.
Recommended water filters are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
A flood of new water filters—everything from simple carafes to permanently mounted water filter systems—can make removing impurities from your drinking water almost as easy as turning on the tap. If you're looking for information about water filters, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ water filter reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our water filter buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and water filter reviews to help you choose the best water filter for your needs.
Ratings & recommended water filters
Water filters (45)
It's important to know what, if any, contaminants are in your water before you buy a filter. Then you can match the filter to the problem. Also consider how much water you consume vs. how much effort and disruption to your daily routine you're willing to tolerate. Generally, the more contaminants you need to remove, the more complicated the filter, though there are trade-offs to every choice.
Our top picks tend to be excellent at removing those impurities their makers claim they remove. Don't forget installation costs, which could be $150 to $300 for an undersink or reverse-osmosis system.
Water filters can improve the taste of your water and they may even protect your from harmful contaminants. The devices have become simpler to install and more convenient to maintain. Our tests of various filters, including carafes, faucet-mounted models, and whole-house systems, found options suitable for removing many common contaminants. What's at stake might be more than just good taste.
A flood of new filters--everything from simple carafes to permanently mounted systems--can make removing impurities from your drinking water almost as easy as turning on the tap. Some models that connect to the plumbing are now easier to install. And across types, more filters now feature electronic indicators that signal when it's time for replacement.
Dangerous contaminants such as lead, chloroform, arsenic, nitrate, nitrite, radon, and E. coli bacteria are common in tap water. Bottled water, often advertised as a "pure" and "natural" alternative to tap water, is generally safe. But it's actually less regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency than municipal water supplies. Indeed, some bottled water is simply filtered tap water. Fortunately, our tests of water filters of various types found models suitable for removing many such contaminants.