Best & Worst Water Filter Pitchers From Consumer Reports' Tests

The top-rated Brita purges tap water of bad tastes, odors, and chlorine, while two low-scoring models are slow and prone to clogging

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Pitcher filters aren’t the best way to clean your tap water. But they’re a good start.

They can strip out unappetizing flavors and funk, and filter common contaminants from your drinking water. They’re relatively inexpensive. “And water filter pitchers are convenient because there’s no under-sink installation,” says CR test engineer Richard Handel, who oversees water filter testing. “With most, you just fill it up with tap water, throw it in the refrigerator and wait.”

These pitchers typically hold up to 10 cups of water, filtering over time. So you might find that you’re waiting awhile—or refilling the pitcher often, depending on your drinking habits or how many housemates are pouring from the pitcher. In CR’s lab, we run each pitcher through a battery of tests and time just how long it takes to filter a quart of water at various stages of the filter cartridge’s lifespan. The best gets the job done in a little over a minute, while others take up to an average of 43 minutes—or longer.

But first, consider why you need a water filter. To improve taste and reduce odors? To remove lead and chlorine from your drinking water? To save dollars and the environment from plastic pollution? Your answer matters because we found that some filters are more effective than others on each of these fronts. To be sure, a water filter pitcher can remove some contaminants but not necessarily heavy metal pollutants such as arsenic or PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as “forever chemicals”). To combat those, you’ll need a larger-capacity reverse osmosis water filter.

Smell and taste are the biggest tap water complaints; they relate directly to your water source. And this is where water filter pitchers tend to excel. Six of eight water filter pitchers in CR’s tests improve flavor and reduce odor.

All the pitchers in our tests are certified to remove chlorine, but only half remove lead, according to standards from NSF International. If a manufacturer claims a filter pitcher meets standards for removing specific contaminants, such as chlorine and lead, CR verifies each claim. Read on for reviews of the best pitchers from our water filter pitcher ratings (and find out which two to avoid). For more on filtration, see our water filter buying guide, and for even more options, check CR’s complete water filter ratings.

Best Water Filter Pitchers

CR’s take: Our highest-rated water filter pitcher is the Brita Stream Rapids OB55, the only true filter-as-you-pour model. It aces our flow rate and clogging tests (Excellent ratings in both) and earns a solid score for improving taste and reducing odor. It’s certified to the NSF standard for chlorine removal, but it doesn’t remove lead. You’ll see NBA superstar Stephen Curry on the packaging, and our tests show that water from this pitcher goes down smoothly, with a swish.

CR’s take: The Kirkland Signature Water Filtration System is a mouthful, but it goes down easy once you use it. It isn’t NSF-certified for removing lead, but it rates well, acing our tests with Excellent scores for flow rate and clogging. If your tap water reeks, tastes bad, or is tainted by elevated chlorine levels, this pitcher, $25 at Costco, is for you (assuming you’re a Costco member).

CR’s take: The Pur Basic PPT700W is the least expensive water filter pitcher in our ratings. It typically sells for $17 and carries a yearly filter replacement cost of $30. The Pur Basic delivers on improving flavor as well as odor and chlorine reduction. However, it’s not NSF-certified for lead reduction, and it will take longer to filter—especially over time: Its flow rate and clogging score are just average.

CR’s take: If you’re patient enough to wait up to an hour for this Pur to filter water (as in, you fill it up and throw it in the fridge or put it on the counter for later), this pitcher may be for you. Despite its below-average flow rate (the number of minutes it takes to filter 32 ounces of water), the Pur Ultimate with Lead Reduction PPT711W ranks near the top of our ratings. In this case, effective filtering takes its time. The upshot: It’s the best water filter pitcher at improving flavor and reducing odor, and it doesn’t clog—in our tests for each, this pitcher earns Excellent ratings.

CR’s take: Another lower-priced option, the ZeroWater Ready-Pour ZD-010RP is perhaps the steadiest filter performer. Among the top five water filter pitchers in our ratings, it’s the only one that’s NSF-certified for both lead and chlorine removal. It earns Very Good ratings for improving flavor and for odor reduction. This versatile pitcher also earns an Excellent score in our test for clogging, which means it will flow consistently over time. But you’ll pay for that effectiveness, with a pricey filter replacement cost of $78 per year.

Worst Water Filter Pitchers

CR’s take: The ClearlyFiltered COMIN16JU025114 is NSF-certified to remove chlorine and lead. And yes, it filters well for flavor and reduces odor. But it still might leave a bad taste in your mouth—and a burn hole in your wallet: Priced at a whopping $85 (more than twice the cost of other CR-tested pitchers), it earns an abysmal Overall Score of 41 in our ratings (our top-rated Brita, at the top of this list, has Overall Score of 81). This super-slow pitcher clogs like a dam, which means you’ll spend up to $150 per year in filter replacements—about twice as much as the next-highest-priced pitcher.

CR’s take: The Clear₂0 GRP200 is the lowest-rated pitcher in CR’s ratings, earning an Overall Score of 38. Your patience will be tried by its extremely slow flow rate. This pitcher also has the smallest capacity in our tests (6 cups per pitcher), which means you’ll be racing from faucet to fridge more than a parched teenage boy after football practice. We’re pouring cold water on this water filter pitcher.

BW Headshot of Consumer Reports author Keith Flamer

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.