Water pitcher filters aren’t designed to turn unsafe water into something you can drink. Instead, they’re intended to be used on pre-treated tap water, which is already perfectly drinkable. Pitchers work mainly on the aesthetic qualities of water—the taste and smell—which can be affected by things like chlorine and other treatment chemicals, mineral content, and safe organic sediment.
Being two of the best pitcher filters on the market, however, the Pur Ultimate and the Brita LongLast both go a step further with their filtering power. Each is rated by the NSF to remove health-risking as well as aesthetic contaminants, and both score highly when it comes to their ability to reduce the quantities of lead in water down to safer levels (even traces of lead in drinking water are not considered safe).
Here, the Pur Ultimate offers the additional benefit of being able to remove cysts, which are small, micro-organism and parasites containing pockets in water. Whether you actually need a pitcher filter capable of removing cysts is something you’d likely already know—in other words, if you’re not using private well water, or haven’t been notified by your public provider about the presence of cysts, then it’s very unlikely you need to filter for them.
However, for those for whom cyst-filtering is a must, the Pur ultimate is one of the only standard pitcher filters able to claim this impressive filtering power.