The great thing about a whole house filter is that it takes the effort out of clean drinking water. Simply turn on any faucet in your house, fill up a glass, and enjoy pure, tasty H2O. That is, as long as your whole-house system doesn’t require constant maintenance.

That’s why choosing a reliable, cost-efficient whole house filter is so important. As two of the biggest brands around, Aquasana and Pelican often meet this definition. Both brands offer several options for whole house filtering and water conditioning.

Let’s take a look at their most popular in-line filter products in terms of filtering technology, filtering capacity, and overall value for money.

Let’s compare: Whole House Filters

Let’s compare:

Aquasana OptimH20

Pelican PC600

Pelican PC600
What we liked Fine-grain pre filtering and a microorganism stage make this a highly powerful system with wide coverage Simple, established filter technology with a long lifespan and impressive flow rate
Things to consider Filter types used may mean a drop in flow rate Reduces a narrower range of contaminants compared to the Aquasana OptimH2O
Filtering technology
  • 1 micron pre filter
  • Carbon block
  • UV
  • Water conditioner
  • 5 micron pre filter
  • GAC carbon block
  • KDF Zinc-copper screen
Filter capacity 100,000 gallons 600,000 gallons
Flow rate 8 gallons per minute 12 gallons per minute
Warranty ✓ (5 years) ✓ (lifetime)
Certification IAPMO Certified To NSF/ANSI 53 and P473 IAPMO Certified To NSF/ANSI 42 and 61
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See where Aquasana and Pelican’s whole house filters place in our full review of the Best Whole House Water Filters for 2021

Filtering technology

Both the Pelican and Aquasana whole-house filter systems use a four stage filter to create reliably pure water for every faucet and appliance. Like almost all in-line filters, they begin with a pre-screen to capture larger particles and sediments that could damage the rest of the filter. Here, the Aquasana has a clear advantage, being able to remove particles down to 1 micron in sizes, versus 5 microns for the Pelican.

Sticking with the Aquasana, stage two consists of a carbon block filtering, which is made with a highly dense construction able to reduce levels of out lead, cysts, PFOA/PFOS, chlorine, and other organic contaminants. Despite the fact that two of the Pelican’s stages are also carbon-based filters, it can’t match the OptimH2O is this area, instead focusing on organic chemicals only.

The final filtering stages in the Aquasana whole house filter are a water conditioner and a UV filter, which help to ensure that water is soft and bacteria-free. While the Pelican also includes an antimicrobial copper and zinc KDF layer, it again falls behind the Aquasana in terms of filtering technology.

Aquasana

  • 1 micron pre filter
  • Carbon block
  • UV
  • Water conditioner
Pelican Water

  • 5 micron pre filter
  • GAC carbon block
  • KDF Zinc-copper screen

Value for money & User experience

Both the Aquasana OptimH2O and the Pelican PC600 offer an impressive user experience, but in different ways. While the Aquasana is highly accessible and idiot-friendly, with its LED indicators to show flow rate and remaining filter life, the Pelican focuses on longevity, reducing the amount of time you need to spend tinkering with your system.

In this aspect, the Pelican is a clear winner. While both modes are available in different configurations and capacity sizes, the Pelican comes out on top, with higher capacity per filter, and a faster flow rate, meaning that you won’t see as much of a drop in performance after installation.

Those who’ve already invested in the Pelican immediately noticed a difference in all kinds of applications, from more pleasant showering to scale-free scale appliances. This is thanks to the Pelican’s ability to remove 97% Chlorine up to 1.301mil gallons.

Aquasana

Filter capacity:
100,000 gallons


Flow rate:
8 gallons per minute

Pelican Water

Filter capacity:
600,000 gallons


Flow rate:
12 gallons per minute

Certifications & contaminants reduced

Thanks to the effectiveness of each of it’s filtering stages, the Aquasana has been tested and certified by the IAPMO to reduce more lead than any other whole house filter available—which, considering that lead pipes remain in place across large swathes of the US, is a pretty big deal. Its UV filter is also able to sterilize 99.99% of pathogens and microorganisms, including cryptosporidium and giardia.

Due to its less intensive filtering stages, the Pelican PC600 just can’t match the Aquasana for contaminant removal. However, not every household requires such extensive filter technology. For those who are only looking to rid their supply of sediment, chlorine, organic chemicals, and trace heavy metals, the pelican will more than suffice.

Aquasana

Main contaminants removed/reduced:
Sediment, chlorine, VOCs, lead and heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, bacteria, viruses.

Pelican Water

Main contaminants removed/reduced:
Sediment, chlorine, VOCs, some heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals.

Our verdict

With Pur and Brita’s pitcher filters taking the top two spots in our full filter review, it’s no secret that we’re big fans of both products. The truth is that each of these pitchers is well worth your money, and their slight differences generally equal out when you consider the whole picture.

But, if we had to choose one, we’d go with Brita LongLast 10-Cup. Although it does have a slightly smaller capacity than the Pur Ultimate, and we found the lack of an LED cartridge life indicator annoying, we also think that it offers the best long-term cost efficiency of any pitcher filter, without sacrificing filter performance.

That said, we’d probably shift our recommendation to the Pur Ultimate 11-Cup if we were considering a pitcher filter for non-average tap water. If you have specific filtering needs, especially for removing cysts, then go with Pur, even though it may cost you slightly more in the long term.

Check out the latest prices of the Brita 10 Cup Pitcher and the Pur Ultimate 11-Cup now.

Let’s compare: Water filter softeners

Let’s compare:

Aquasana Rhino

Pelican Smart Combo

What we liked Multiple configurations and add-ons to create a truly comprehensive whole house filter Near Field Communication (NFC) for wireless connection with smartphones
Things to consider Flow rate may be too slow for some May not be as effective as salt-based systems on very hard water
Filtering technology Scale Control Media (salt-free alternative) Calcium carbonate crystals (salt-free alternative)
Filter capacity 1,000,000 gallons 1,000,000 gallons
Flow rate 7 gallons per minute 10 gallons per minute
Warranty ✓ (10 years) ✓ (lifetime)
Certification NSF 42 (by NSF) IAPMO Certified To NSF/ANSI 42 and 61
Price Check the latest price Check the latest price

Need a water filter capable of handling the most intensive range of contaminants? Here’s our review of Best Reverse Osmosis Filters for 2021.

Filtering technology

Aquasana’s water conditioner, the Rhino, is also known as the eq-1000, so consider this section an Aquasana eq-1000 review as well as a look at the Rhino. This NSF certified system is able to remove over 97% of chlorine from water, as well as a significant amount of hard-water causing minerals. As a result, it’s been awarded the Gold Standard of water filtration, meaning that Aquasana once again tops the table when it comes to filtering power.

The Rhino/eq-1000 uses a Scale Control Media instead of salt to soften water, which alters the structure of hard mineral ions to prevent them from binding to appliances and causing limescale buildup. The big advantage of this mechanism is that it doesn’t demineralize water, meaning you can have the best of both worlds, enjoying the taste of freshwater while preserving the lifespan of your appliances.

As for the Pelican, it also opts for a salt-free approach, using their own Natursoft® technology to vary the number of minerals in water as well as reducing the water surface tension. Similar to Aquasana’s Rhino, the mechanism works by attracting excess dissolved minerals and binding them to crystal structures on the filter media.

Aquasana

Filtering technology:
Scale Control Media (salt-free alternative)

Pelican Water

Filtering technology:
Calcium carbonate crystals (salt-free alternative)

Value for money & User experience

While we think that any Aquasana eq-1000 review needs to point out that, with a 1,000,00 gallon capacity and a 7 gallon per-minute flow rate, the vast majority of customers won’t be disappointed with this product’s value for money. Aquasana has designed this system to work for years, calculated at 10 years of normal usage for most homes.

However, when it comes to user experience, the Pelican takes it for us. Not only does it match the Aquasana’s capacity; it offers a significantly better flow rate, at 10 gallons per minute. The Smart Combo also includes a wireless connectivity feature, providing automated, on-hand instructions and troubleshooting whenever you’re performing maintenance on your system.

Aquasana

Filter capacity:
1,000,000 gallons


Flow rate:
7 gallons per minute

Pelican Water

Filter capacity:
1,000,000 gallons


Flow rate:
10 gallons per minute

 

Our verdict

When it comes to filtering technology, a review of the Aquasana eq-1000 and Pelican Smart Combo shows that both systems use similar, salt-free methods, with comparable results. We like how Aquasana makes it easy to set up their Rhino system with multiple configurations and add-ons, creating a truly comprehensive whole house filter.

However, the slower flow rate compared to the Pelican may be too slow for some, which leads us to recommend the Pelican Smart Combo for an effective, cost-efficient water conditioner.

Check out the latest price of the Aquasana Rhino and Pelican Smart Combo now.

Let’s compare: Shower filters

Bathrooms are often neglected in the world of water filtering. While people focus on achieving purer drinking water, they forget that those same irritating chemicals such as chlorine and chloramine are hitting your skin every time you step into the shower. Thankfully, both Aquasana and Pelican have shower head filters capable of turning the hardest of water into a moisturizing, spa-level experience.

Let’s compare:

Aquasana AQ-4100

Pelican PSF-1

Aquasana AQ-4100 Pelican-PSF-1
Filtering technology The AQ-4100 filters shower water using two stages. The first is an activated carbon layer, which reduces chlorine, lead, and iron. This is followed up by a KDF copper and zinc oxidation process to further tackle harsh chemicals. The Pelican PSF uses a 3-Stage filter—that’s one more than the AQ-4100. A copper and zinc oxidation layer helps remove hard-water causing minerals, while GAC carbon media reduces organic (carbon-based) chemicals like chlorine.

More uniquely, the Pelican includes a layer of far infrared balls, which changes the ion structure of water, lowering the surface tension. This gives water a softer feel on the skin and promotes better hydration. 

Put all three stages together, and the Pelican is able to produce luxuriously soft water with more 96% less chlorine and synthetic chemicals.

Value for money Aquasana’s shower filter is designed to filter 10,000 gallons of average-quality tap water, a third less than the Pelican PSF-1. That said, it should still be plenty for around 6 months of daily showers. When it comes to bang for your buck, the Pelican is more cost-efficient than the Aquasana model. With a 15,000 gallon capacity, it’s able to handle around 750, ten-minute showers before a replacement cartridge is needed.
Anything else? The AQ-4100 features multiple massage settings, so you don’t have to sacrifice the functionality of your regular shower head. There’s a definite feel of luxury about the PSF-1, with its dual-flow head and ‘Ocean Breeze’ aromatherapy scent bar, which can be toggled on and off for a hit of soothing scents.
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