A whole-house water filter is necessary in areas that have water quality issues. It is highly recommended in cities with polluted or contaminated water and households that use well water.
Getting a whole-house water filter is a big investment and you should take things like water consumption, installation, and maintenance costs into consideration. Also, you should consider the particular water contamination issues in your area, water consumption in your household, as well as the micron ratings of a given filter.
Keep reading for the best whole-house water filter reviews and a thorough buyer’s guide with a FAQ section.
Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter – 3 Stage Home Water Filtration System – Sediment, KDF, Carbon Filters – includes Pressure Gauges, Easy Release, and 1” Inch Connections
iSpring WGB32BM 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System w/ 20-Inch Big Blue Sediment, Carbon Block, and Iron & Manganese Reducing Filter …
Home Master HMF3SDGFEC Whole House 3-Stage Water Filter with Fine Sediment, Iron, and Carbon
Aquasana EQ-300 3-Year, 300,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter
3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filtration System – Model AP903
Best Whole-house Water Filter Reviews
1. Express Water 3 Stage Heavy Metals Whole House Filtration
Multi-stage water filtration is your best bet if you need to address multiple water quality issues. If you need sediment filtration, kinetic degradation fluxion, and active carbon filtration, make sure to check out the Express Water 3 Stage Heavy Metals Whole House Filtration.
The Express Water is installed at the point of entry and filters all the water that enters your home. It is a hugely efficient system, as no water is wasted. The system has been tested against NSF/ANSI standards and can push up to 15 gallons of water per minute.
The Express Water system requires inlet pressures of 45 to 80 psi and temperatures of 45 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The filters are packed in a freestanding metal frame with individual food-grade polypropylene microfiber casings.
First, the four-layer sedimentation filter catches all particles down to 5 microns in size. The outer layers are in charge of the bigger particles and sediments, while the inner layers catch the finest ones. Sand, dirt, rust, and other debris are cleared at this stage.
After the sediment filter, the water passes through the combined KDF85 filter. This is where aluminum, viruses, algae, fungi, mercury, lead, iron, sulfur, arsenic, hydrogen sulfide, and other chemicals are filtered out. The kinetic degradation filter contains catalytic carbon, as well as ionically charged zinc and copper granules.
An activated carbon block is the third and final stage of purification. This filter is in charge of capturing turbidity, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, total organic carbon, chlorine, and other chemicals that cause a bad smell and taste. The filter is made with dense vacuum-heated carbon and has a large surface area.
The Express Water 3 Stage System comes with three pressure gauges and easy pressure-release switches. Individual filters are packed in plastic housings with twist-off caps for easy replacements. The life of the cartridges is rated at 100,000 gallons which should be sufficient for a continuous 6 to 12 months of use.
What’s to like about the Express Water 3 Stage Heavy Metals Whole House Filtration
This 3 Stage System offers an excellent water flow of 15 gallons per minute. It works up to NSF/ANSI standards and is easy to install and replace. The system covers all standard types of pollutants and is easy to control.
What’s not to like about the Express Water 3 Stage Heavy Metals Whole House Filtration
This system might not work out very well if you’re looking for a long-term solution.
- check15 GPM water flow
- checkNo pressure loss
- checkNo wasted water
- checkEasy maintenance and installation
- Not the best option for well water
2. iSpring WGB32BM
While they might be a bit too much in areas with generally clean water, advanced 3-stage filtration systems are a must for households using well water. If you’re using well water in your house, you might want to consider getting the iSpring WGB32BM.
The iSpring WGB32BM 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System is specifically designed to combat high concentrations of iron and lead typical of well water. Along with heavy metals, this 3-stage system is great at purifying other standard pollutants.
This system is made up of three filters packed in high-quality plastic casings which are secured to a metal chassis with pressure release controls. This filtering system can filter up to 15 gallons per minute and is rated at a life of 100,000 gallons between cartridge changes. In a household with average water consumption, this system might last between 6 and 12 months.
The sediment filter at the first stage filters out all the large particles, debris, and sediment. All particles 5 microns in diameter or larger will be filtered out at this stage.
The CTO carbon block filter is next. It is made of coconut shell carbon for increased longevity and filtration efficiency. It has been tested, together with the sediment filter, against NSF/ANSI standards.
The third and final stage contains the FM25B filter. Its duty is to remove the remaining manganese, iron and other heavy-metal particles.
This 3-stage water filtration system doesn’t remove TDS (total dissolved solids) or healthy minerals from the water. It needs minimal maintenance after installation. However, the water softener is not included with the system.
What’s to like about the iSpring WGB32BM
The iSpring system excels at filtering out high concentrations of iron, lead, and manganese. It doesn’t reduce the TDS level in water and only slightly reduces the water pressure. The system can deliver 15 gallons of water per minute.
What’s not to like about the iSpring WGB32BM
If you have hard water, you will have to invest in a water softener as well or it will reduce the life of the cartridges.
- check15 gallons/minute water output
- checkDoesn’t reduce TDS
- checkGreat at purifying heavy metals
- checkCompliant with NSF/ANSI standards
- No water softener
3. Home Master HMF3SDGFEC
Different whole-house water filtration systems are made for different purposes and it is strongly recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when choosing one for your house. In case you’re using well water in your house, you should check out the Home Master HMF3SDGFEC 3-stage whole-house water filter.
The Home Master system is not recommended for use with city water that’s contaminated with bacteria, high levels of chlorine, and high acidity (<7ph). Instead, you should use it to purify well water.
For everything else, you can add another water filter downstream of it. Of course, you should test your water before purchasing this system. The maximum TDS is 2,000 ppm.
The Home Master system is a three-stage system with oversized filters. The filters have big 1” ports to minimize pressure drop. The system works with inlet pressures of 20 to 90 psi and water temperatures of 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The first stage contains a multi-gradient sediment filter. It is there to filter out all debris, rust, sediment, and large particles found in the water.
It has four layers. The first one clears out particles that are larger than 25 microns, while the second, third and fourth clear out 10, 5 and 1-micron particles, respectively.
A radial flow iron filter filters out iron, manganese, lead, hydrogen sulfide, and other contaminants from the water at the second stage. Iron is reduced down to 3 ppm or up to 95%. A radial flow carbon filter is the third filter.
It is made of coconut carbon and its task is to deal with leftover hazardous chemicals. It also removes bad tastes and smells from the water.
This system is rated at 100,000 gallons or about 6 to 12 months in an average 4-person household. The cartridge replacement is simple and easy, thanks to the user-friendly construction.
What’s to like about the Home Master HMF3SDGFEC
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC system offers oversized and low-maintenance filters that can filter out particles down to 1 micron. Purifying well water is its forte.
What’s not to like about the Home Master HMF3SDGFEC
This system is not recommended for use in households with chlorinated city water.
- checkOversized filters
- check1-micron rating
- checkRated at 100,000 gallons
- checkDesigned for well water
- Not the best solution for city water
4. Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter
If you’re interested in filtering systems with extended capacity, check out the Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter.
The Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter is rated at 300,000 gallons or up to 3 years, depending on the water consumption in your house. The extended capacity means less maintenance and less frequent cartridge replacements. There is no water waste, back flushing, or drainage, giving this system a 100% efficiency rating.
This system is a standard compact 3-stage filter, making it great for installation in tight spaces. It is made of sturdy and durable materials and the pipes are all heavy duty. It is worth noting that the package doesn’t include PEX tubing. This system is great at combating pesticides, herbicides, mercury, lead, and chlorine.
The first stage is a sediment pre-filter that removes silt, rust, and sediment particles from the water. It has a 300,000-gallon rating. Unlike the other two, this filter is packed in a plastic housing and measures 10” in length.
The second and third stages are copper-zinc and activated carbon filters in metal casings. The copper-zinc filter deals with heavy metals, chlorine, algae, and bacteria. On the other hand, the activated carbon filter removes pesticides, herbicides, and other hazardous chemicals from the water.
The Aquasana Rhino is equipped with 0.75” pipe fittings. Aquasana claims that the Rhino system removes up to 97% of chlorine, which the activated carbon excels at.
What’s to like about the Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter
The Aquasana Rhino is rated at 300,000 gallons and there’s no back flushing, drainage, or wasted water. It is made in accordance with NSF standards and removes up to 97% of chlorine from the water, making it one of the most efficient at chlorine removal.
What’s not to like about the Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter
The only downside of this otherwise great system is that the water softener is not included in the package.
- checkRated at 300,000 gallons
- checkRemoves up to 97% of chlorine
- checkCompliant with NSF standards
- Higher pressure drop than many systems
5. 3M Aqua-Pure AP903
Sometimes, a simple and compact water filter is the best fit. If you’re in the market for an affordable, low-maintenance whole-house water filter, you should take a look at the 3M Aqua-Pure AP903 system.
The 3M Aqua-Pure AP903 is a classic metal cylinder whole-house water filter. The capacity is a respectable 100,000 gallons and it filters up to 20 gallons of water per minute. The AP903 weighs around 10 lbs.
This FDA CFR-21-compliant filter takes care of particles down to 5 microns. It is packed in a rust-free stainless steel housing with 1” NPT inlet and outlet connections. The manufacturer recommends the use of a quality pre-filter system for the best results.
The AP903 sports a large activated carbon filter that’s easy to maintain and replace. It can purify dirt, sediment, chlorine, rust, and unwanted taste and odors from the water. Depending on the water consumption in your house, this filter can last up to one year.
There’s no dedicated copper-zinc filter for heavy metals or a UV filter for viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens, but you can easily add them downstream as the pressure drop across the 3M is quite low. It is rated as a cold water-only filter or 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit operating temperature.
What’s to like about the 3M Aqua-Pure AP903
The AP903 is compact, light, and easy to install, and the filter is easy to change. The flow rate is as high as 20 gallons per minute and the capacity is 100,000 gallons.
What’s not to like about the 3M Aqua-Pure AP903
On the flipside, it is recommended to install a sediment prefilter for best results.
- checkLightweight and affordable
- checkEasy filter changing
- check20 gallons per minute flow rate
- checkFDA CFR-21 compliant
- Needs a prefilter if you have sediment problems
Buying a whole-house water filter is not a small thing and requires a lot of consideration. First, you’ll have to consider your water quality and what you’d like to remove, and then you just match it to the filter. Multistage filters remove different contaminants at each stage.
Next, you’ll need to take the water consumption in your house into account. Finally, you’ll have to consider the cost and perhaps how involved the installation is. Let’s take a look at what separates the best whole-house water filter from the rest.
Types of Water Filter
The majority of whole-house water filters are multistage. Here’s a word or two on the major types of water filters.
Multistage systems are a great all-around solution for homes that need thorough filtration. Active carbon, sediment, and copper-zinc filters are commonly included. Models for city water, well water, and combined use exist. The number of stages may go up to 7 or 8. You might need a booster pump to overcome the higher pressure drop of more stages.
Single-stage filters address only one major problem, such as sedimentation, heavy metals, or chlorine and toxic chemicals. However, you can install multiple single-stage filters in series to take care of different contaminants.
Systems with pre- and post-filtering are the most comprehensive systems out there. They are also the most expensive. Pre-filters are sediment filters. Sediments are the biggest so it makes sense to remove them first. Post-filters include UV filters for pathogens and water softeners for heavy metals.
The capacity can vary greatly. Serious whole-house water filters start at 100,000 gallons and up to 500,000 or even 1,000,000 gallons. Industrial systems may go up higher.
To figure out how long a 100,000-gallon filter will last, just look up your water bill and do the math.
If your family uses a lot of water, you might want to go for a higher capacity to avoid frequent filter changes. The cost of a full set of filters could be almost as high as the system itself.
Instead of filter elements, for the purpose of this article, we will define filter types as the contaminants that a particular filter is designed to remove. So, what we have are iron filters, sediment filters, chemical filters, UV filters, submicron filters, and water softeners. The last three are often offered as optional add-ons.
Iron filters don’t just filter out iron. They’re in charge of all heavy metals present in the water. These might include lead, aluminum, mercury, and other metal contaminants.
Sediment filters are commonly used as the first line of defense. Some manufacturers use them in the pre-filtering stage. Their job is to clear sediments, rust, dirt, and other debris. Depending on the model, a good sediment filter can catch particles down to as small as 1 or 5 microns.
Chemical filters usually contain activated carbon. They remove chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, turbidity, pharmaceuticals, and other unwanted chemicals. As a result, they improve the taste and smell of the water.
UV filters are post-filtering add-ons and their role is to kill all remaining bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.
Submicron filters, as their name suggests, remove particles that are less than 1 micron in diameter. The finest grade is as small as 0.35 microns.
Water softeners are installed downstream of whole-house water filter systems. There are two main types – sodium-based softeners and salt-free softeners.
The former variety actually removes heavy metal molecules while the latter simply makes the molecules inactive in such a way that they can’t form limescale.
Flow Rates + Micron Ratings
When buying a whole house water filter, it is very important to get a model that can deliver sufficient amounts of water in peak use periods. For example, an average 4-member household might need a flow rate of 10 gallons per minute, while bigger and more demanding home might need 15 or even 20 gallons per minute in the morning and evening.
Pretty much all whole-house water filter systems can filter out large particles of more than 5 microns. Finer and better models can filter down to 1 micron. The submicron filters that come with some reverse osmosis systems might go as far as 0.35 microns to protect the RO membranes.
Whole-house water filters typically start at $200 and run to well over $1,000. The standard 3-stage systems will probably set you back between $400 and $600, but you can find a simple one-stage system for less than $300. Depending on the filter, you might have to add a pre-filter.
Also, you will have to consider future filter replacements before you make your final decision. If you and your family use a lot of water, you might be better off with a more expensive system that will need fewer frequent filter changes. As mentioned, a full set of replacement filters may cost as much as the filtration system.
What is a water filtration system?
A whole-house or point-of-entry water filtration system is a water cleaning and purifying system that removes contaminants and impurities from your water at the main line. This covers the water that branches out to your kitchen tap, dishwasher, shower, toilet, and garden.
A faucet-level or point of use water filtration system cleans the water at a specific in your house. If you were to add one point-of-use water filter, it’d be for your kitchen faucet.
How do water filters work?
This largely depends on the system’s construction and design, though some universal principles apply to all systems. The sediment filter is the first filter since sediments are the largest impurity. It takes care of debris, rust, silt, and sand.
Subsequent filters, depending on the system’s configuration, might take care of heavy metals, dangerous chemicals, or microorganisms. Different filter elements are used to remove specific contaminants. Water purification companies know what filter materials to use for what contaminants.
What do water filters remove?
Water filters remove all types of contaminants and pollutants. Sediment filters remove rust, sand, debris, and other large particles. Carbon filters of various configurations remove mercury, aluminum, lead, iron, and other heavy metals from the water.
Activated carbon filters remove turbidity, pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, and other potentially dangerous chemicals. UV filters use UV light to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms.
Does zero water filter remove fluoride?
The Zero Water Filter by Zero Water can remove a wide range of chemicals, including lead, pharmaceuticals, fluoride, arsenic, chloramine, and chromium 6. It removes up to 99% of fluoride and doesn’t leach PVC.
Which water filter do I need?
The answer to this question depends on several things. If you’re using city water, go for a filter that’s designed for city water. If you use well water, look for a system made to purify well water.
But you should test your water for contaminants and make a decision based on the results. If the water contains lead and iron, the system you opt for has to have a heavy metal filter. Likewise, if there’s a large amount of debris, rust, and sediment in the water, you need a system with a heavy-duty sediment filter.
In case there’s a high concentration of microorganisms in the water, going for a system with UV filter would be a good idea. If bad taste and odors are problems, you’ll need an activated carbon filter.
It is time to conclude the best whole-house water filter of 2019 reviews. For households with city water, the Express Water Whole House 3 Stage Heavy Metals Filtration System and Aquasana Rhino System are the best options.
The former offers 100,000-gallon capacity, 15 GPM flow rate, and an excellent heavy metal removal capability. The latter is rated at 300,000 gallons and removes up to 97% chlorine. The Rhino system is compliant with NSF/ANSI standards.
Households that use well water can benefit the most from the iSpring WGB32BM or Home Master HMF3SDGFEC systems. The iSpring delivers 15 gallons per minute and is great at removing heavy metals. The Home Master model has oversized filters, 100,000-gallon capacity, and removes particles down to 1 micron.
Finally, if you only need basic water purification, you might want to opt for the 3M Aqua-Pure AP903. It is affordable, low maintenance, and works up to 20 gallons per minute. This system is rated at 100,000 gallons.
Don’t forget to also read our article on the “Best Water Purifier Pitchers of 2019 Complete Reviews with Comparison“.