What's Best: A Whole-House or Under-Sink Water Filter?
The answer depends on your family's needs
Did you know that boiling water removes some bacteria but not contaminants like chlorine and lead? In fact, boiling water can actually elevate its lead concentration.
If your goal is to have filtered water for drinking and cooking, an under-sink water filter is probably all you need. Those certified to the NSF/ANSI 42 standard effectively remove odors and off-tastes, and filters certified to the NSF/ANSI 53 standard remove lead and other contaminants.
If your annual water-quality report shows you have a wide range of contaminants or bacteria in your water, a reverse osmosis water filter is your best bet. These filters force water through a semi-permeable membrane to wall off synthetic chemicals like PFAS (Polyfluoroalkyl substances or “forever chemicals”) which have been linked to cancer, high cholesterol and learning delays in children.
What’s in Your Water?
Do you have bad-tasting water? Consumer Reports’ Perry Santanachote and James Dickerson explain how to find out about water testing and the best filtration systems.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the May 2020 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.