Oct 29, 2023

The 7 Best Water Filters of 2023

These filters made us want to drink water all day long.

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Verywell Health / Kristin Kempa

Drinking plenty of water has long been a tenet of good health, but the water flowing from household taps can have an off-putting taste. Tap water in America is nearly always safe to drink, but you wouldn’t be alone if you drink less because you dislike the flavor of the water.

Of all the water filtering options available, choosing a filtered water pitcher may be the easiest and most affordable solution. These gravity-fed products are simple to set up and use. They’re also more affordable and healthier for the planet than bottled water in single-use plastic.

Before we started our testing process, we set up a tap water analysis with the NSF (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) to discover what’s in our water. The analysis determined that our water was safe to drink, and doesn’t necessarily need to be filtered, but that doesn’t account for taste. And Jamie Johnson, RDN, owner of Ingraining Nutrition, believes that improving the taste of water can increase people’s water intake, which can improve their overall health.

To help you find the right water filter, we tested popular options in The Verywell Testing Lab and at home over two weeks, evaluating the water’s taste, clarity, and smell, as well as the filter’s ease of use and value to help bring you cleaner and fresher tasting water.


Instant filtering

Quick and easy setup

Activated carbon filter to remove chlorine and odors

Filters should be replaced about six times a year

This pitcher, which uses Brita’s Stream filters, tops our list because we found it easy to set up and use during testing. One quick cleaning and rinse and we were ready to fill the pitcher. When we did so, it instantly filtered the water so we could pour a glass straight away.

We also loved the pitcher’s compact size and functional design during testing. It fits easily under a kitchen tap and can be tucked into the fridge without taking up too much room. When using the pitcher, we found that the pour spout released a steady stream of water and didn’t cause us to accidentally overflow a small glass.

During blindfolded taste testing, the filtered water tasted clean and crisp even though the control water clearly had a chlorine taste and aftertaste. That’s mainly because of the activated carbon filter that takes out the chlorine, says Daniel L. McCurry, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California. He says that an activated carbon filter can also remove musty or earthy odors.

Price at time of publication: $37

Key Specs:Capacity: 80 fl ounces | Filter Replacement: 40 gallons; about every 2 months | Certifications: NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 | Dishwasher Safe: No


Filters water quickly

No presoaking needed when changing filters

Indicator tracks filter replacement cycle

Handle and lid design could be tighter

This affordable, no-frills pitcher performed well during testing. It took no more than three minutes to get a full pitcher of water, faster than many other models we tested. The reservoir holds about half the amount of the pitcher base, so after two quick fills under the tap, the pitcher was ready to pour out or chill in the fridge. Its multilayer filter uses natural coconut carbon to reduce chlorine and odors. The water we poured from this pitcher tasted soft and smooth, even after sitting in the glass for a while.

This pitcher’s lightweight plastic makes it easy to lift and pour with one hand, however, we did find that the space between the body and handle is fairly large. It took a firm grip to hold a full pitcher securely, which may make it less ideal for children to lift. The plastic also seemed somewhat flimsy, with a loose-fitting lid, but it held up well during our weeks of testing.

Price at time of publication: $35

Key Specs:Capacity: 48 fl ounces | Filter Replacement: 60 gallons; about every 3 months | Certifications: Not listed | Dishwasher Safe: No


Sustainable glass base

Instant filtering and filling

Filters fit all Hydros products

No filter-change indicator

This slim pitcher is a great option for people with smaller fridges or limited storage spaces. With its slender profile, we could easily grasp the pitcher with one hand to fill it up. It had the smallest capacity of the pitchers we tested, but we didn’t mind because it worked so quickly. Water immediately ran through the filter at the same speed that it came through the faucet, without backing up or needing to set the tap to a dribble.

This product stands out against our other top picks regarding sustainability because it’s entirely glass. The small filter, which fits into the lid, is made of coconut carbon shell, and Hydros offers a mail-in recycling program for its used filters. The same filters work with all of the company’s bottles and pitchers. The glass pitcher was easy to clean in the dishwasher or sink, but the filter lid should be hand washed.

Price at time of publication: $35

Key Specs:Capacity: 40 fl ounces | Filter Replacement: 40 gallons; about every 2 months | Certifications: NSF 42 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, except the lid


Can be used while filtering

Holds 240 fluid ounces

Certified to reduce lead

Lacks a max fill line

The Pur Plus 30-Cup Dispenser holds at least three times as much water as our other top picks. During testing, it still fit into a standard-size sink for filling. The handles at both ends made it easy to carry, even when full. It’s also certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA) to reduce lead, which can leach into water from pipes, faucets, and plumbing fixtures, especially in homes built before 1986, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The granulated carbon that filters out impurities left a lot of black particles in the pitcher as we unboxed it. But we were glad the dispenser’s three sections were easy to take apart and clean out with a sponge. We found the filter-change light easy to activate and monitor but there’s no max fill line. The tank is large, so it takes around 30 minutes to fill half of the bottom tank. Still, we could use the bottom spout to pour off a glass while water continued to filter through the reservoir.

Price at time of publication: $33

Key Specs:Capacity: 240 fl ounces | Filter Replacement: 40 gallons; about every 2 months | Certifications: NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes


Filters out contaminants that affects well water

One reservoir of filtered water fills the entire pitcher

Pours smoothly with no leaks

Takes longer than other options on this list

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) extensively regulates public drinking water systems, so the tap water entering your home is safe, says Dr. McCurry. However, the EPA doesn’t regulate private wells. That makes the Epic Nano Pitcher a good choice for people drinking well water.

Its nanofiber filter goes beyond many other pitcher systems by working to remove bacteria, viruses, and chemicals that can contaminate groundwater and ultimately well water. It's worth noting, though, that it took around 12 minutes to fully filter water during our testing. But the good news is that we only had to fill the reservoir once to filter an entire pitcher’s worth of water.

The entire pitcher fits easily under a faucet and is light enough to lift and pour without spills or leaks. At home, our editor found water filtered through this pitcher tasted even better than water filtered by her brand-new refrigerator.

Price at time of publication: $70

Key Specs:Capacity: 68 fl ounces | Filter Replacement: 150 gallons; about every 4 months | Certifications: NSF/ANSI 42, 53, 401, and P231 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand washing is recommended


Results in crisp, satisfying water

Well balanced and lightweight

Filters last six months

Reservoir needed to be filled in stages

Flavor was a key criterion during our testing, and the Elite filter in Brita’s Tahoe Water Pitcher won our taste test. We loved how crisp and satisfying the water tasted, and saw ourselves drinking water more regularly with this product.

The design of this pitcher is as attractive as it is functional. The handle’s construction makes it easy to lift with one hand, and it fits neatly in the sink. When pouring, water flows directly into a glass without dripping. But it did feel like we had to fill the pitcher a little bit at a time to bring the water volume up to the max fill line.

On the upside, the water filter lasts for a hefty 120 gallons, so it should only need to be replaced a couple of times a year. Plus, we love the light built into the pitcher’s lid that tracks the number of gallons filtered and warns when the filter is approaching the end of its life cycle.

Price at time of publication: $54

Key Specs:Capacity: 80 fl ounces | Filter Replacement: 120 gallons; about every 6 months | Certifications: NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401 | Dishwasher Safe: No


Uses UV light to counteract bacteria

Tracks water intake and filter life via an app

Self-cleans throughout use

High initial and filter replacement costs

Unlike most water filter pitchers, which tend to be simple in design, LARQ’s PureVis pitcher comes fully loaded. After filtering the water through an activated carbon filter, a UV light cleans the pitcher and its contents and then continues to self-clean regularly to prevent bacterial buildup. The rechargeable “wand” that runs the cleaning feature also connects to an app that monitors how much water you drink and when the filter should be replaced (about every three months).

In testing, the filtration speed pleasantly surprised us. We liked how the lid stayed securely attached throughout the process and didn’t even come off when we flipped the pitcher upside down. In fact, all of the components lock together so well that it was challenging to remove the battery, which is recommended every two to three months so that the pitcher can be thoroughly cleaned in a dishwasher.

Price at time of publication: $168

Key Specs:Capacity: 64 fl oz | Filter Replacement: 60 gallons; about every 3 months | Certifications: NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, except the rechargeable wand

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best water filters we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These water filters are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great water filters, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These water filters are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend water filters with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

These water filters didn't entirely meet our expectations but may still interest you.

Before we began testing filters, we had our tap water samples analyzed by NSF (which tests and certifies drinking water quality) to confirm that the water we were filtering was typical of U.S. public water systems. Because tap water is highly regulated to ensure it is safe to drink, we tested filtered water for aesthetics, taste, and smell. We also consulted experts:

To find our top picks, eight staffers tried out 18 water filters by using them to filter tap water in the lab and then at home over two weeks. We also set up blindfolded tests with unfiltered and filtered water. Testing revealed little difference in smell or clarity between unfiltered and filtered water, so we focused on how the filtered water tasted, as well as how easy the filter was to use and clean and its overall value.

NSF and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) sets the standards for water quality. Johnson recommends looking for documentation that shows a water filter meets those standards, especially if you’re concerned about more than taste. Manufacturer websites will often post detailed data sheets that list the contaminants a filter removes, so you can check if a particular filter will benefit your needs.

Johnson says no water filters remove all contaminants, but the specific standards focus on different ones.

To keep working effectively and efficiently, the filters in water pitchers need to be replaced regularly. This cost can add up depending on how often you need to change the filter, so consider both the ongoing cost and the initial price of the product.

One of our staffers noted that compared to the filters built into her refrigerator, pitcher filters typically cost less even when they should be replaced with the same frequency. Exactly how often you’ll need to replace a filter depends on the initial quality of your tap water and how many times you refill the pitcher each day. Many of these products have built-in indicators that change color when you’ve run the maximum number of gallons through the filter. At that point, the old filter has essentially filled up and must be replaced, Dr. McCurry says.

How much filtered water you want to keep ready to pour and how much space you have to keep the pitcher within reach both play into capacity considerations. Numerous factors affect how much a pitcher holds. Filter size is one, and some styles take up a surprising amount of space, cutting into overall capacity. Designs that include a reservoir hold far less filtered water than the pitcher would appear to hold.

Different filter designs work at different speeds, so it’s best to consider filtration speed and performance in tandem. Some filters that work more slowly remove more contaminants, which may make them worth the wait if you have concerns beyond taste. In our testing, we also found that when using a filter for the first time, the water flowed slower through most pitchers than it did after a few cycles. How quickly you can start pouring glasses of filtered water also depends on factors like how many times you need to run the tap to get a full pitcher and whether you can pour while filtering.

The water filters we tested are standalone, gravity-fed systems that all work in a similar way. Water flows from a faucet through the filter that’s often housed in a reservoir so that you can turn off the tap before filtration stops. The filter removes impurities as the water passes through it.

Most of the products we tested rely on activated carbon filters to make water taste better, and some have been certified for removing further contaminants. There are other water filtration options that are usually more expensive. These options may include filters that connect directly to a faucet or under sink pipes and are professionally installed. Others use different filtration methods, like reverse osmosis and UV light.

If you dislike the taste or smell of your tap water and find yourself drinking less water because of it, a gravity-fed water filter pitcher or dispenser is worth it. Staying well-hydrated is key to good health. A reusable pitcher or dispenser drastically reduces the use of single-use plastic, making it good for the planet too.

If your water comes from a private well, having it tested can reveal any contamination issues and the type of filtration needed to resolve them. In addition, Johnson says that specific contaminants may affect people with certain health conditions, making any concerns worth discussing with a doctor.

Activated carbon filters, the most common type in filtered water pitchers and dispensers, are often certified for removing contaminants, but what they filter out can vary. Some only remove impurities that affect taste and odor, including chlorine, but others can draw out chemicals, bacteria, and more. Check that the filter has been certified as meeting NSF/ANSI standards, and then look at the specific standard numbers and the full results of third-party testing to find out which contaminants the filter removes.

Most water filters have a listed lifetime in gallons and an estimated number of months. How often you should replace your water filter depends on the unit that you buy. Some need to be changed out more frequently while others may last up to 150 gallons or six months without being replaced. The quality of your tap water can affect that frequency. If your filtered water starts to taste or smell off, becomes cloudy or speckled with particles, or flows more slowly than normal, it’s probably time to swap out the filter, Johnson says.

Julie Laing has been a writer and editor for 25-plus years and enjoys exploring how health, movement, and food intersect. Professionally, she is a cookbook author, food columnist, recipe developer, and product tester. Several years ago, she realized that she disliked the taste of her well water, which is safe but high in trace minerals and wasn’t drinking enough water. Her tap water also affected her pickles and ferments. Because Julie also avoids single-use plastics, filtered water became her solution.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Lead in Drinking Water.

Price at time of publication: $37Key Specs:Capacity: Filter Replacement: Certifications: Dishwasher Safe:Price at time of publication: $35Key Specs:Capacity: Filter Replacement: Certifications: Dishwasher Safe:Price at time of publication: $35Key Specs:Capacity: Filter Replacement: Certifications: Dishwasher Safe:Price at time of publication: $33Key Specs:Capacity: Filter Replacement: Certifications: Dishwasher Safe:Price at time of publication: $70Key Specs:Capacity: Filter Replacement: Certifications: Dishwasher Safe:Price at time of publication: $54Key Specs:Capacity: Filter Replacement: Certifications: Dishwasher Safe:Price at time of publication: $168Key Specs:Capacity: Filter Replacement: Certifications: Dishwasher Safe:4.8 to 5 stars: 4.5 to 4.7 stars:4.0 to 4.5 stars: 3.5 to 3.9 stars:3.4 and below:NSF/ANSI 42 NSF/ANSI 53 NSF/ANSI 401 NSF/ANSI P231