Springwell salt-based softener

Pelican Iron Filter for Iron Bacteria

APEC-3-Stage-Whole-House-Water-Filter-System

Most popular
★★★★★

Most powerful
★★★★★

Best Budget
★★★
☆☆

SpringWell’s air injection WS1 filter is quiet, maintenance-free, and doesn’t add chemicals to your water for a natural iron removal option.

With its micron filter and chlorine pump, the Pentair WF4 removes all types of iron, as well as creating an inhospitable environment for iron bacteria.

KDF cartridge filters offer medium iron reduction for lower upfront costs. The APEC 3-Stage Iron Filter is an affordable, well-reviewed system.

SpringWell Well Water Filter for Iron, Sulfur, and Manganese

Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter System For Home Pro 10 Year 1,000,000 Gallon

SpringWell ULTRA Combo Filter and Softener

Best overall
★★★★★

Best under $1500
★★★★☆

Best protection
★★★★★

The high-flow SpringWell Well Filter removes iron stains, sulfur odors, and metallic tastes using a cartridgeless air-injection system.

Popular for a decade, the Aquasana 600k Rhino combines baseline filtration with hard mineral descaling for a great price.

The SpringWell Ultra was the only system in our review to remove all common contaminants without sacrificing water flow rate.

What’s the Best Iron Filter for Well Water?

Best overall well water filter for iron: SpringWell WS1. This SpringWell system won the top overall well water award in our 2022 review, and also comes top for iron removal thanks to its impressive combination of performance, reliability, and price.

Best for high iron levels: Pentair WF4. With its super-powerful chlorine injection system, the Pelican WF4 effectively removes dissolved iron while also preventing the buildup of iron bacteria. Perfect for wells with very high iron levels.

Best budget iron filter: APEC 3-Stage Filter. For the best budget option, we recommend APEC’s iron filter, which contains a sediment stage for non-dissolved iron, as well as a KDF media to oxidize and remove clear water iron.

Best iron filter and softener combo: SpringWell WS-SS1. Well water that’s high in iron is also likely to contain hard minerals that cause their own range of issues. To tackle both at the same time, combine SpringWell’s WS1 with their powerful salt-based softener.

Best Iron Filter for Well Water: Results Explained

Iron contamination is one of the most common well water issues in the US. If you have a domestic well that contains high levels of iron, you may notice orange and brown stains, unpleasant metallic tastes, and water clouding.

Dissolved and undissolved iron

In water wells, iron exists in both an unoxidized dissolved form, and an oxidized insoluble form, better known as rust. Together, these two types of iron produce all of the unwanted symptoms above.

brown well water from ironIron bacteria

Using water with high levels of iron can also make your pipes a breeding ground for iron bacteria—a class of microorganisms that clog plumbing with an off-putting sludge.

So what makes a good iron filter for well water?

The best iron filtration systems either remove all three types of iron contamination or provide powerful focused filtration for a specific type of iron.

Pentair WF4-P Iron filterWhen it comes to comprehensive removal of major iron contamination, we think the Pentair WF4-P is the current industry leader.

It can handle up to 10 PPM of iron and uses a chlorine injection system that removes dissolved iron while disinfecting the water supply to suppress the growth of iron bacteria. It also contains a sediment filter to pre-screen undissolved rust.

If insoluble rust particles are the major issue in your well, you could try and cheap and quick fix, by using a sediment filter. Devices the like popular Culligan HD-200 are designed to effectively screen out undissolved particles, but they can’t handle any other type of contamination.

SpringWell_Well_Water_Filter_System

For targeting clear-water iron alongside other common well water metals like sulfur and manganese, we recommend the SpringWell WS1. It handles an impressive 7 PPM of iron using an air injection system.

What type of iron filter is right for me?

Whether you opt for a comprehensive iron removal system or a targeted iron filter should depend on the makeup of your own well water.

Pentair UV PurifierBut whatever you choose, it’s important to significantly reduce iron levels in your water to avoid the growth of iron bacteria.

This can be achieved by either removing high levels of iron using a powerful filtration system, or by combining a more focused iron filter with an anti-bacterial stage, such as a UV purifier (this is Pentair’s highly-rated version).

Other Important Iron Filter Features

Iron filter type

Do you need a filter for rust particles that discolor water and create metallic tastes? Or a filter for dissolved iron that’s invisible but causes staining on appliances and fixtures? Or a solution for iron bacteria that thrive in iron-rich water? Many homes with domestic wells require all three types of iron filtration.

Cartridge vs tank

Cartridge iron filter systems are smaller, made from plastic, and can be installed as whole-house or under-sink units. Cartridge filter systems are cheaper but less powerful and need to be replaced more frequently. Tank filters are much bigger and made from resin, chrome, or steel. Tanks tend to provide more powerful filtering with less maintenance but have a much higher base price, and require more space.

Other filtration stages

Water contaminated with iron is likely to contain other types of material, such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and manganese. To remove them, you’ll need a filter with extra features, such as a softening tank, a sulfur oxidizer, or a chlorine injector.


Top 8 Iron Filters for Well Water in 2022

SpringWell Well Water Filter for Iron, Sulfur, and Manganese
  • Iron removal: 7 PPM

  • Type: Air injection

  • Flow: 12 GPM
  • Price: $2096

  • Rating: ★★★★★

Best overall iron filter for well water

SpringWell WS1

SpringWell makes some of the best iron treatment systems available. Typically used for murky, smelly, metallic-tasting well water that stains fixtures and clothes, this removes 7 PPM of soluble and ferric iron, 8 PPM of sulfur, and 1 PPM of manganese. With a single, cartridge-free tank, this system effectively removes orange and black stains as well as iron tastes and odors. SpringWell offers a lifetime warranty, 6-month return policy, free shipping, and a factory discount when you shop directly with them. Take an extra 5% off this system with the cod CLEAN5, valid at www.springwellwater.com.

Pros: Air injection filters work like injection filters above, except they don’t add any chemicals to the water supply, and you don’t need to refill them. This makes them maintenance-free. They also tend to cost slightly less than chemical injection options.

Cons: Air injection filters oxidize iron by introducing air pockets into the water supply. This is great for removing iron, sulfur, and manganese, but it can encourage the growth of bacterial iron if iron traces remain in the well water (which is likely).

So, if you’re dealing with high iron levels, you may need to purchase an additional disinfect stage to reduce the risk of bacterial growth.

Pentair WF4-P Iron filter
  • Iron removal: 10 PPM

  • Type: Chlorine injection

  • Flow: 10 GPM
  • Price: $3611

  • Rating: ★★★★★

Best iron filter for iron-rich well water

Pentair WF4-P

The Pentair WF Iron Series offers 4 stages of water treatment to handle different types of iron contaminants, including bacterial iron, as well as manganese. An auto-regulating chlorine injector that doesn’t require electricity oxidizes ferrous iron as it passes through the system, as well as ensuring that iron bacteria don’t make it to your home plumbing.

Pros: Chemical injection filters effectively oxidize and remove the highest amounts of dissolved iron. Because they oxidize using disinfectant chemicals, they also create an inhospitable for iron bacteria.

Cons: Chemical injection filters are expensive. You also need to monitor and refill the feed pump. Many pumps are noisy, which may be an issue if your filter is installed inside and near a bedroom or other quiet space.

APEC 3 Stage Whole House Water Filter System 300x300
  • Iron removal: 3 PPM

  • Type: KDF

  • Flow: 15 GPM
  • Price: $511

  • Rating: ★★★☆☆

Best budget iron filter for well water

APEC 3-Stage Water Filter

For a lower price than the tank-based systems on this list, APEC’s 3-stage Whole-House Filter System offers adequate protection against groundwater contaminants such as iron, VOCs, and silt. The APEC 3-stage system isn’t recommended for houses with high levels of iron or other contaminants, but if your levels are around 3 PPM, reviews indicate it does a great job of treating your water.

Pros: Cartridge filters offer consumers a much lower upfront cost, as they use replaceable cartridges containing a granulated filter media that will periodically run out and need renewing.

Unlike carbon cartridges (the most common form of cartridge filter), filters that use KDF or manganese dioxide media do oxidize well water, which means that they’re capable of filtering out dissolved iron.

Cons: While they’re cheaper to purchase, KDF cartridge filters have lower performance ratings and need replacing each year. Over the full lifespan of a filtration system, you’ll likely end up paying more for less filtering power.

SpringWell WS-SS1
  • Iron removal: 7 PPM

  • Type: Air injection/softener

  • Flow: 11 GPM

  • Price: $3017

  • Rating: ★★★★★

Best iron filter and softener combo

SpringWell WS-SS1

SpringWell’s Iron Filter and Softener is the most targeted well water treatment equipment we’ve found. Reviews indicate that it does an excellent job of eliminating all four of the most common contaminants found in groundwater across the United States – iron, sulfur, manganese, and hard water minerals. Included in this system is the iron filtration tank featured above, plus a 32,000-grain salt-based water softener.

pros: Well water that’s high in iron is also likely to be high in hard minerals. Hard minerals don’t have as significant an effect on drinking water, but they still cause lots of problems, so it pays to have a system that can handle both types of contaminants.

Cons: iron/softener combos tend to use KDF filtration and be less efficient at removing high levels of iron than the 1s and 2nd options on this list.

Culligan WH-HD200-C water sediment filter
  • Iron removal: >5 microns

  • Type: Micron filter

  • Flow: 8 GPM

  • Price: $98

  • Rating: ★★★☆☆

Best filter for undissolved iron

Culligan WH-HD200

The Culligan WH-HD200-C is a different sort of product from the others on our list, and it comes at a much lower price. It provides whole-home protection against non-dissolved ferric iron and other forms of sediment in groundwater—for pretty much the same price as a kitchen filter. If you’re convinced that your water has extremely low amounts of dissolved ferrous iron and you just need to safeguard your pipes and appliances against rust, we think the Culligan WH-HD200-C is a good, low-cost option.

pros: Small particles of undissolved iron (otherwise non as rust) can mix into the water supply from corroded pipes of iron-rich earth, causing cloudy water with an offputting appearance. A micron filter can effectively fix water clouding issues by passing water through fine mesh screens, which are either replaceable or washable. The Culligan is a highly popular well sediment filter that will do this job for undissolved iron for a very low upfront cost.

Cons: If you notice particles of undissolved rust in your drinking water, there’s a high likelihood that your well also contains dissolved clear water iron. Low levels of clearwater iron may not cause staining or affect water taste, but it does create the conditions for iron bacteria growth. So, filtering it from your water supply is always recommended.

Crystal Quest Iron Filter

  • Iron removal: Various

  • Type: Various

  • Flow: 12 GPM

  • Price: Model depending

  • Rating: ★★★★☆

Best custom iron filter

Crystal Quest Iron Whole House Filter

Crystal Quest’s Iron filter offers a highly customizable setup that can be installed in multiple configurations to match the level of iron contamination in your water. There’s a choice of resin or stainless steel tanks with different capacity filtration beds, plus optional softening for hard minerals, oxidization for ferrous iron, UV purification for microorganisms, and auto-leak detection.

Fleck Iron Filter

  • Iron removal: 12 PPM

  • Type: Air injection

  • Flow: 10 GPM

  • Price: $709

  • Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Best budget air injection filter for iron

DuraWater Iron Eater

The DuraWater Iron Eater filters iron using an air injection oxidizing system in a single tank. Like our top choice, the SpringWell, it produces an air pocket that oxidizes dissolved iron and sulfur as it passes through, which is then caught by the filter media bed. The downside? Durawater is a smaller brand that operates over Amazon, meaning that you don’t get the same US-based quality production and customer service as the bigger, more well-known manufacturers.

  • Iron removal: 3 PPM

  • Type: Salt-based softener

  • Flow: 8 GPM

  • Price: $617

  • Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Best budget iron filter and softener

Whirlpool Pro Series

The Whirlpool Pro water softener is ideal for those who want to conserve money and floor space. It combines a brine tank and a water softening system into a single, reasonably small unit that incorporates auto-regeneration to minimize salt and a 3 PPM iron filter—all for under $1,000. The all-plastic design is more prone to cracking and leaking, however.

Well Water Filtration System FAQ

Iron Filters for Well Water: Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there iron in my drinking water?

Iron is the second most common metal in the earth’s crust, making up about 5% of the total. So, when water moves through the soil, it can pick up iron naturally. This is why iron can be found in surface water, like lakes and rivers, and groundwater, which comes from the ground.

But iron can also come out of rusty pipes, industrial waste, and the refining of ore.

Ferrous and ferric iron is what we usually deal with when it comes to drinking water. 0.7 ppm is the average amount of iron in rivers on average. 0.5 to 10 parts per million are found in groundwater. There are times when 50 ppm is possible. Drinking water usually has less than 0.3 ppm of iron in it.

Is iron contaminated water bad for my health?

Because iron is a naturally occurring element that is used by (and found inside) our own bodies, there’s no inherent risk to consuming small amounts of iron in your water.

That said, high levels of iron contamination are associated with a number of minor health risks.

When excessive levels of iron are ingested over long periods, they can accumulate in major organs. There’s little risk of this from most water sources, however, drinking water with iron concentrations above 200 mg per liter can result in iron poisoning.

Bacterial infection

Iron compounds and bacteria, in particular, have the potential to cause more serious health consequences. When the latter is digested, it creates an environment that may include extra germs, increasing the likelihood of becoming ill from it.

Skin and hair

Well water with a high concentration of iron may also have an adverse impact on your hair and skin. When used to wash your hair, it might cause it to become dry and brittle, as well as darker in color as a result. Blonde hair may become orange as a result of the sun. It is possible that your skin may wrinkle prematurely. When soap and iron are mixed, a scum is formed on the skin that is difficult to remove. Soap scum residue has the potential to clog pores, resulting in irritation and acne in some people.

Is iron contaminated water bad for my home?

When levels of iron in water reach significant levels, your home appliances and piping feel the effects. High iron contamination can cause:

  • Iron staining. The most famous effect of iron contamination in the home is those orangey stains that can cause rings around your toilet bowl, shower tray, or sink drain. When iron levels are high these stains can even transfer onto laundry and can be difficult to remove (as the water used for cleaning stains contains iron itself).
  • Clogged pipes and appliances. Iron particles can accumulate in pipes and home appliances, causing them to clog. What starts out as a small drop in water flow rate can become broken and non-functioning appliances over a longer period.
  • Bacterial contamination. Iron bacteria are a type of microorganism that consume iron as part of their metabolic process. As a result, they thrive in iron-rich water and can quickly reproduce in water storage tanks, pipes, and unused appliances. Signs of iron bacteria include an orange scum or foul-smelling slime that covers the water’s surface.
Can iron be filtered out of well water?

Yes. Even though iron is a highly common and troublesome contaminant, it can be effectively removed from well water when the right equipment is used.

How do you filter well water with iron?

The most often used filter type for removing ferric iron and ferrous iron consists of a huge mineral tank filled with oxidation media such as greensand and sand, which is utilized to extract the iron.

In the case that the ferric and ferrous concentrations are exceptionally high, an additional pre-oxidation step may be necessary. The air injection oxidation technique is the most often utilized.

It is possible to treat iron-oxidizing bacteria with chlorine injection or shock chlorination, both of which are effective treatments.

Do whole house iron filters work?

Whole house water filters should work well to remove iron, so long as they contain filtration stages designed specifically to target it.

Most whole house water filters don’t contain the appropriate technology, however, so do your research and choose the right product for your water profile.

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