Best Under-Sink Water Filters From Consumer Reports' Tests

These top-rated filters can keep clean water on tap in your home

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Child drinking from the kitchen tap. Photo: Thanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images

Under-sink water filters can deliver cleaner, better-tasting drinking water the old-fashioned way: from a spout.

They’re more effective at removing lead, chlorine, and other contaminants than popular fridge filters and water filter pitchers. “And under-sink water filters are inherently more convenient than pitchers, with higher filter capacity,” says Richard Handel, the CR project leader who oversees our water filter lab. “There’s no need to pour water into a pitcher and wait. You just flip the lever and the filtered water flows."

You can buy them at major retailers or independent dealers. Of course, they do require installation and space under the sink. "And there’s a higher initial cost and cost per year, compared with water filter pitchers,” adds Handel.

More on Water Quality & Filters

Under-sink reverse osmosis water filters are recommended if your water-quality report reveals a wide range of contaminants or bacteria. Publicly available each July, this Consumer Confidence Report reveals contaminants detected in your tap water compared with the Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water standards. If you rent an apartment, ask your landlord or local water company for a copy.

For lead, chlorine, and other contaminants, standard under-sink filters that meet NSF/ANSI certification should do the trick. (NSF International and the American National Standards Institute develop water filtration standards.)

All under-sink filters in CR’s ratings are certified to the NSF standard for removing lead and chlorine. To test flavor and odor reduction, CR spikes a "control water" sample with common taints that smell or taste like metal, compost, damp soil, a sewage treatment plant, or a swimming pool. Then, trained water testers filter it and examine how well the pitcher removes those taints compared to pure spring water. We measure flow rate by the time it takes to filter 1 gallon of water. Clogging reflects if and how the filter’s flow rate slowed over the course of the cartridge’s lifespan.

For more information on different types of water filters, check out our water filter buying guide and water filter ratings. CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of the four best under-sink water filters from CR tests.

Best Under-Sink Water Filters

Correction: This article has been updated to indicate that in our tests we measure flow rate by the time it takes to filter 1 gallon of water, not 1 quart.

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Keith Flamer

As a kid in Delaware, I lived a few blocks from Bob Marley, who once said, "It is better to live on the house top than to live in a house full of confusion." At CR, I'm psyched to help readers navigate this cluttered, hyper-commercialized world we live in. I've covered luxury real estate, interior design, and culture—reporting on everything from smart home technology to racial hypocrisy at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate. Since the pandemic started, I cherish simplicity, covering accessible topics like decorating, cooking, and cleaning. Give me a smoothie blender over a mansion any day. Blenders are slightly easier to clean.