How to Choose the Perfect Water Filter for Your Home


Getting the right water filter for your home can be a daunting proposition. There are so many varieties that each have their pros and cons. Furthermore, they can be really expensive, so you better be sure you get one that’s going to solve all of your water contamination problems.

In this post, I’ll discuss the essential step you should take before purchasing a water filter, and give the low down on exactly what each type of water filter does.

First, test your water.

This step really is essential as the results of this test dictate what kind of water filter you should get. There are 3 ways that you can have your water tested. Each has varying degrees of accuracy and different costs.


  • Check your local water quality report

Your local water municipality has to test the water quality at regular intervals. They are required by law to make this information public every year. This report is called a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) and it is published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

See Your Local CCR Here

One thing to be aware of with these reports is that they are conducted at the water treatment plants. The tests are completely accurate, but they do not take into account any contamination that may occur as the water travels from the treatment plant to your home. However, they do give a good indication of which contaminants you might have to worry about.

If your home is served by a private/well water supply, then the CCR won’t be of any help to you. You should check out points two and three.


  • Have a laboratory test your water

This is the most expensive of the options, but it is also the most effective and reliable. By having a local lab test your water you can have comprehensive results regarding exactly what is in your water. You can find a local EPA approved laboratory that will test your water using the link below.

Find a Lab in Your State Here

Aside from the expense, the other drawback is that the results are not instant. You might need to wait a few days or even weeks for your answers. However, you can be assured of their accuracy.


  • Test the water yourself

Home water test kits can be purchased for less than $20 from sites like Amazon. This option is great because it gives instant answers and it is relatively cheap.

Test kits can highlight the presence of contaminants like lead, nitrates, pesticides, bacteria, iron, and chlorine. They can also tell you how hard your water is (very hard water might indicate the need for a water softener) and the level of pH.

However, only the better kits will actually tell you the level of contamination. This is an important factor, as you can compare the level of a specific contaminant (like lead) in your water to the EPA’s recommended action levels.


Next, choose a water filter.

There are many different types of water filter available. The specific contaminants present in your water should dictate which method you choose. However, your budget and lifestyle are also going to have an impact on this.

In this section, I’ll give a brief lowdown on what each kind of water filter does, and how effective it is.


Reverse Osmosis

Cost: $150 – $500

Level of Protection: Very High

Reverse osmosis is probably the most effective form filtration available in the home. It is able to filter anything bigger than 0.0001 microns in size (1 micron = 0.0001 Centimeters). This means it will reduce levels of 1000s of common water contaminants.

The drawbacks are that it only filters the water at one faucet point, it removes healthy minerals from the water, and it wastes some water during the filtration process. However, the minerals can be added back with an optional remineralization filter.

Unless you require clean bathing water as well as clean drinking water, this is the type of water filter I would recommend above all others.


Whole House Water Filter

Cost: $30 – $4000

Level of Protection: Medium to High

These water filters filter the water for the entire home. That means clean drinking water and clean bathing water. Due to this, they can be very expensive and the installation is harder than with other filtration types.

Whole house water filters can vary quite a bit in design. There are carbon media tanks that are great at removing chlorine, and also more heavy duty, filter cartridge types that can deal with well water better. Well water can have heavy metals present, like iron and lead.


Faucet Filter

Cost: $15 – $50

Level of Protection: Low to Medium

These attach directly onto the faucet. They are slightly more effective than the pitchers (in my opinion), but tend to throttle the water flow. A big plus point with these filters is that they are cheap.


Filter Pitcher

Cost: $15 – $70

Level of Protection: Low to Medium

These water filters are among the cheapest, but tend not to be very effective. Most are carbon based which means they will reduce chlorine and improve the water taste and odor.


Countertop/Under-counter Filter

Cost: $30 – $500

Level of Protection: Medium to High

This title covers quite a broad range of water filters. With the countertop types, there are those that sit on your counter and attach to the faucet, and then those that you fill, like the Berkey water filters. The Berkey systems are pretty good at reducing fluoride. The ones that attach to the faucet are mainly carbon based and can deal with chlorine pretty well.

The under-counter systems also encompass a wide range of filter types (this would include reverse osmosis).  The inline filters can be great for chlorine, while those that use KDF can reduce heavy metals like lead and mercury.



In conclusion, the main point to take away from this article is to test your water regularly. Each type of water filter deals with different contaminants. If for example, you are worried about lead or iron, then a chlorine based filter just won’t cut it. By testing your water you can make sure you get a water filter that is tailor made to targeting your specific problem.