If you want an easily installed water filtration system that allows you to filter large quantities of water without any under-sink alterations, then a countertop water filter should be on your radar.

You can easily install a countertop system yourself, just remove your faucet aerator, screw the filter onto your faucet, and voila! Some models are even easier to set up, just unbox and pour water directly into them.

Countertop filters are one of the most cost-effective ways to remove a wide range of contaminants, both harmful as well as aesthetic. Below we will discuss the most important considerations in choosing a countertop water filtration system.

Before we begin, if your faucet is an all-in-one pull out sprayer, then a faucet filter is likely not suitable for you, so consider an under-sink water filter instead.

Here are some of the best countertop water filters you can purchase at the moment, and our guide to choosing the best fit for you.

TOP PICK

Aquasana AQ-4000W Countertop Drinking Water Filter System
  • Connection: Faucet attachment
  • Dimensions: 12 x 7 x 4 inches

  • Warranty: 1 year

See on Amazon

Runner-up

  • Connection: No connection required

  • Dimensions: 14 x 14 x 12 inches

  • Warranty: 1 year

See on Amazon

Best for Bacteria

  • Connection: Faucet attachment

  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 4  x 5.5 inches

  • Warranty: 1 year

See on Amazon

Best for Value and Taste

  • Connection: Faucet attachment

  • Dimensions: 11.25 x 3.75  x 3.75 inches

  • Warranty: 1 year

See on Amazon

What to look for in a Countertop Water Filter

The top factor in choosing a countertop water filter, like any water filter, is the number of contaminants it removes, or how much of a specific contaminant a filter can remove.

Here are some of the contaminants that countertop filters can remove, with associated certifications, and products.

Contaminants Certification to remove Products
Harmful contaminants: Lead, Asbestos, Arsenic, Mercury, Cysts, VOCs, etc.* NSF 53, 58 Aquasana AQ-4000W, AQUA TRU AT2000, DOULTON-W9331032, Brondell H20+ Pearl
Chlorine and Chloramines NSF 42 Aquasana AQ-4000W, AQUA TRU AT2000, DOULTON-W9331032, Brondell H20+ Pearl
PFAs P473 Aquasana AQ-4000W, AQUA TRU AT2000
Emerging contaminants NSF 401 Aquasana AQ-4000W, AQUA TRU AT2000

*Check with product performance data sheets if you are concerned about a particular contaminant.

The top factor in choosing an under sink water filter is the number of contaminants removed, or how much of a specific contaminant a filter can remove.

If you are worried about the quality of your water and are unsure of what is in it, then you should aim for the best product available that eliminates the most contaminants possible. If you know exactly what contaminants are in your local water source, you can be more precise in your purchase.

For example if your local water source has trace amounts of lead in it, then you will want a water filter that can filter over 99% of lead, and other contaminants may not be as much of a worry for you. Under-sink water filters commonly remove the following contaminants: chlorine, iron, lead, asbestos, TDS (total dissolved solids), bacteria, cysts, and fluoride along with many others.

We recommend finding out what contaminants are in your water source by checking your local Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR), or getting your private well water tested. This is because different systems remove different contaminants so choosing your product should be based on your specific needs. Here are our main contaminants of concern and reasons why:

Here are our main contaminants of concern that a countertop systems can reduce:

There are also many other contaminants (too many to list), but if you get a quality countertop water filter you can do your best to protect yourself and your loved ones from any adverse health effects.

Certifications

To be sure filter systems are filtering out what they claim to, look for products that have NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) or WQA (Water Quality Association) certifications that are the gold standards in the USA for water filtration systems.

NSF and WQA marks are meant to provide proof that a product was “impartially reviewed to established standards or guidelines,” states the NSF.org website. NSF and WQA marks also confirm that product labels and their claims have been objectively verified by a trusted third party and demonstrate a company (or organization’s) commitment to quality, compliance, and safety.

The mark, which is recognized in more than 180 countries around the world, has varying associated numbers that range from the automotive industry, retail products, lab equipment, nutritional products, sustainability, and of course, water, wastewater, and food safety.

For countertop water filters, look for the following certifications:

  • NSF 42: For chlorine removal, taste and odor, iron, manganese, and zinc.

  • NSF 53 and/or NSF 58: These can both reduce or eliminate contaminants that have known negative health effects. NSF 53 products have a carbon filter and can reduce contaminants to various degrees depending on the quality of the filter. These contaminants include heavy metals (e.g., lead), Cryptosporidium, Giardia, pesticides, herbicides, benzene, MTBE, radon, trihalomethane, and PCBs.

    NSF 58 refers to reverse osmosis (RO) membrane filters, which can remove perchlorate, fluoride, nitrate, nitrite, radium, bacteria, cysts, and heavy metals. It is important to note that carbon filters and RO systems have many crossovers, but they do not filter out all of the same contaminants, as such they can be used in conjunction with one another in the same system.

  • NSF 401: This is for new and emerging compounds, mainly as a result of pharmaceuticals, herbicides, pesticides, chemicals, flame retardants, and detergents being found in tap water that were previously not present.

  • NSF P473: Removes PFAS including PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoate). To make this claim the product must be below to EPA healthy advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion

Look for multiple certifications when searching for a water filter, and make sure they line up with the contaminants you either know, or suspect are in your water source.

Best overall

NSF: 42, 53, 401, P473
Price: $99.99

Countertop water filter fans love the Aquasana AQ-4000W for its ease of use and powerful filtering capabilities.

Aquasana AQ-4000W Countertop Drinking Water Filter System

Pros:

  • Great value

  • Removes harmful contaminants

  • Reduces taste and odor issues

  • NSF 42, 53, 401, P473 certified

  • Faucet attachment

  • Good flow rate

  • Three-stage filtration

Cons:

  • None

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Certified to NSF 42, 53, 401, and P473, this three-stage filtration removes harmful contaminants, PFAS, emerging contaminants, and makes water taste and smell better. Here are the main contaminants it removes:

  • Chlorine: >97.4%
  • Lead: >99.3%
  • PFAS: 96%
  • Cysts (Giardia): >99.99%
  • Asbestos: >99.99%
  • MTBE: 86.6%
  • Mercury >96.5%
  • VOCs: 99.4%

Performance data sheet

Brand reputation cannot be ignored with this product, we like to be objective with our assessments of different water filters, but Aquasana has a history of providing water filters that adhere to industry standards, and are known around the world.

The Aquasana AQ-4000W easily attaches to your faucet, with no permanent alterations to your plumbing needing to be made. Water is dispensed continuously at the push of a button without wastewater like with complex reverse osmosis systems.

With a good flow rate of 0.5 gpm and a price of $99.99 up front, and a total 5 year cost of ~$640 you will be hard pressed to find a better bang for your buck when looking at filtering capabilities. 

You can find products such as the Doulton or Brondell products on our page, and they offer a better price point.ongoing costs, but also don’t have near to filtering capabilities or certifications as the  Aquasana AQ-4000W. Knowing a year’s worth of filtering will only cost you $60, below the average of ~$75 for countertop filters, and will make every glass of water taste a little better.

You’ll need to change filters twice a year, and you have a one year warranty which all of the products we have listed come with, and is typical for countertop water filtration systems.

From improving taste and reducing harmful contaminants at a good price, the Aquasana AQ-400W is our choice for the best overall countertop water filters of 2020.

  • Minimum working water pressure: 20 psi
  • Maximum working water pressure: 80 psi
  • Minimum water feed temperature: 40ºF
  • Maximum water feed temperature: 90ºF
  • Number of stages: 2
  • Fitting style: Threaded

Filter life

A factor in choosing a countertop water filter is filter life. Ideally, you don’t want to have to change your faucet filter more than 2-3 times a year

The range for countertop filters replacements is generally between 3-12 months, with 6 being the higher end of the average range. Some RO countertop models don’t need their RO membrane changed each year, but the carbon filters will still need to be changed. 

All filter lifes are suggestive, if you use your filter more than you’ll have to change it sooner

All of our filters listed have 450-600 gallon or 6 month filter life, with the AQUA TRU needing it’s RO membrane changed every 2 years or 1,200 gallons. 

To make this more tangible if you are using your countertop filter for drinking water only then you can calculate this at about 0.5 gallon per day (gpd) per person. So if you had a family of 4 you would consume 2 gpd, which is 60 gallons per month, and 360 gallons in six months. So a 450-600 gallon capacity filter would be adequate If you are using filtered water to do your dishes in the sink then your consumption will go up, the average sink holds 9 gallons, so if you wash your dishes once a day that adds up to 270 gallons a month.  So you’d want to get a faucet filter with higher capacity, with 600 probably being your minimum.

Runner-up

Our runner up is actually our most powerful countertop filter in terms of pure contaminant removal. It removes 82 contaminants

AQUA TRU’s reverse osmosis system is marketed at being able to filter 15 times more contaminants than other countertop competitors while giving an endless supply of clean, great-tasting, purified drinking water.

Pros:

  • Removes harmful contaminants

  • Reduces taste and odor issues

  • NSF 42, 53, 58, 401, P473 certified

  • Portable

  • Modern look

  • Durable

  • Long filter life

Cons:

  • Have to refill system manually (not plumbed in)

Buy On Amazon

Like the Aquasana it removes harmful contaminants, PFAS, emerging contaminants, and makes water taste and smell better. Here is a list of the top contaminants it can remove or reduce:

  • Chlorine: 96.6%
  • Lead: 99.1%
  • PFAS: 97.5%
  • Cysts (Giardia): >99.99%
  • Fluoride: 93.5%
  • TDS: 87.1%
  • Radium: 96.4%
  • Chromium: 97.2%
  • Copper: 95.2%

Performance data sheet

It’s certified to remove 82 contaminants by IAMPO (The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials) who can certify to NSF standards.

What’s equally intriguing is the system needs no required plumbing or installation, simply plug-in and start filtering. For some this may be a positive as you don’t need to play around with attaching it to a faucet, and for others it could be annoying to have to fill up your countertop system.

It has a holding tank capacity of 1 gallon, meaning it should last a couple days of drinking water, depending on your usage of course. The AQUA TRU RO system does not attach to your faucet making it easily portable and ideal for campers, RVs, or water drinkers on the move.

The four-stage filtration system comes with a full set of filters that are said to last between six months and two years and between 600 to 1,200 gallons.

At  14” x 14”’ x 12”, this system is compact enough to fit anywhere on kitchen counters and not be an eyesore.

The AQUA TRU will run you back $435 (with approximately $85 filters), but you’re paying for a good-looking, effective, and efficient RO system. It also comes with a one-year warranty.

In terms of RO countertop systems, it doesn’t get much better than the AQUA TRU – give it some serious consideration, even at its price.

  • Minimum working water pressure: N/A
  • Maximum working water pressure: N/A
  • Minimum water feed temperature: 39ºF
  • Maximum water feed temperature: 100ºF
  • Number of stages: 4
  • Fitting style: No faucet connection

Filter life

Filter speed is a factor in choosing a water filter, but it isn’t the biggest. A system with at least 0.3 gallons/minute won’t have you standing around and waiting for a glass of water to fill. 

The average water faucets run between 1-1.5 gpm, so take this into account, if you get a 0.5 gpm countertop model you’ll be spending a couple more seconds filling up a glass of water. Well worth it in our estimations to have clean drinking water. And it’s inevitable drawback of water filters, water has to flow a bit slower so filters have time to do their job.

Ease of use

For countertop systems, this pretty much comes down to installation and filter changes. Some countertop models will connect to your kitchen faucet line via a hose, others have a dedicated faucet, and some will be filled manually. 

If you want the convenience of using your faucet as a filter or doing your dishes with filtered water then get one that attaches to your faucet via a house, if you want more a separate water dispenser than a system with a dedicated faucet or a standalone RO system will be better for you. 

Look for the attachment method that suits your needs. And know that countertop systems can be installed yourself, or if you need to employ a plumber it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Best for Value and Taste

NSF 42, 53
Price: $65.00

Beside being very simple and straightforward, Brondell H20+ Pearl is also the best bang for your buck. At $65.00 it’s inexpensive to buy and filter replacements are affordable at $100 a year, which is slightly higher than the other products on the list.

Pros:

  • Cheap purchase price

  • Removes chlorine

  • Removes VOCs

  • NSF 42, 53 certified

Cons:

  • Higher filter replacement costs

  • Not certified to filter out lead, PFAS, and many other harmful contaminants.

Buy from Amazon

It removes over 98% of chlorine and can reduce harmful VOCs. It’s NSF certified to 42 and 53 by the WQA. The unit’s capacity is an impressive 5,000 gallons for aesthetic chlorine and 150 gallons for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  The system removes:

  • Chlorine: 98%
  •  VOCs: 99.8%

Performance data sheet

The system comes with a solid flow rate of 0.5 gpm, and is the most compact unit we have listed. So if you are looking for something that won’t stick out on your counter, then the Brondell H20+ Pearl could be for you.

  • Minimum working water pressure: 10 psi
  • Maximum working water pressure: 58 psi
  • Minimum water feed temperature: 41ºF
  • Maximum water feed temperature: 95ºF
  • Number of stages: 1
  • Fitting style: Quick connect

Costs

Why spend needless money? You don’t have to. There are certain products on the market that claim to filter many contaminants, but have not been tested to do so. These products are often more expensive than certified products that actually are proven to filter out harmful contaminants and improve the taste and smell of your water. 

The range for countertop water filters is from $30 to $500. We have found that the solid price range for systems is between $100-$150. You can get cheaper products for under $100 that don’t have the filtering capabilities. 

Some products closer to the $500 range have their own unique benefits, such as a portable RO system. 

But for a typically plumbed in countertop system stick to our $100-$150 price range. And look for products with cheaper ongoing costs, a la filter costs. 

No countertop model should cost you over $1,000 for 5 years of use. Look for products that have a 5 year cost below this, and ideally closer to the $400-600 range. This price includes system purchase.

Warranty

Having a warranty is a good option to consider when purchasing an countertop filter. If your product ever turns out to be faulty — which happens — you won’t have to deal with the headaches of finding a new one and manufacturers will provide you with a replacement. 

The average warranty for countertop filters is around 1 year. So we’d recommend purchasing a product with a warranty that is at least one year.

Best for Bacteria

NSF: 42, 53
Price: $130

Chlorine and Chloramine do a great job of taking care of most harmful bacteria and viruses in our water supplies. However if you have well water, or you see E.Coli, salmonella, cholera or other bacterial warnings by your municipal water source, then having the right protections in place can be key.

Pros:

  • Removes bacteria

  • Removes harmful contaminants

  • Reduces taste and odor issues

  • NSF 42, 53 certified

  • Great long term value

  • Long filter life

Cons:

  • Does not reduce a large amount of contaminants

Buy On Amazon

The Doulton UltraCarb made our list because it removes over 99.99% of bacteria. It not only virtually eliminates bacteria, but it reduces chlorine, lead, and herbicides. Here are the main contaminants it removes:

  • Bacteria: >99.99%
  • Chlorine: 97%
  • Lead: 98%
  • Cysts (Giardia): >99.99%
  • Insecticides and herbicides: >85%

Performance data sheet

The Doulton UltraCarb is great for specific needs, it does not have the wide range of contaminant removal that the Aquasana AQ-4000W or AQUA TRU AT2000 have. But if you know you want solid bacteria, lead, chlorine, and other select contaminants removed then this is your pick.

The other options do not offer bacteria removal, so they rely on water treatment plants removing bacteria with chlorine. It uses a sterasyl ceramic outer shell, and carbon filter block with ion exchange to accomplish is solid filtering capabilities.

The system is easily attached to your faucet using a diverter valve. It has a self-sterilizing build, which reduces the likelihood of any bacteria growing inside the filter casing.

The flow rate of this filter is 0.9 gallons/minute, so it is actually the standout on our list. Simply put this system is best for bacteria, best for well water with bacteria, and the best flow rate countertop filter.

Filters on the Doulton UltraCarb last for 600 gallons (6-12 months). The price of the system is affordable at $130, and the 5-year running cost is actually the cheapest on our list at $445, so add the best long term value moniker to this product as well.

  • Minimum working water pressure: 10 psi
  • Maximum working water pressure: 125 psi
  • Minimum water feed temperature: 41ºF
  • Maximum water feed temperature: 100ºF
  • Number of stages: 4
  • Fitting style: Quick connect

Additional Information…

Among many home water filter products on the market today, countertop water filters might just be the most user-friendly. Not only do they take little to zero effort in terms of installation, but their larger cartridges mean that replacements are required less often

Countertop models source their water either from a large reservoir that you’ll need to manually fill, or from a hose and directional valve attached directly to the faucet. For faucet models, filtered water is created simply by turning on the water, and allowing it to flow through the filter (which will normally have its own dedicated tap). Countertop filters that use reservoirs may take some time to build up a ready supply of filtered water, but can be easily topped-up.

In terms of exactly how countertop systems remove contaminants from your water, this category of filters may have the largest range of filtering mechanisms. From activated carbon cartridges that operate similarly to Brita-style pitchers, to purifiers and sediment removers, to silver and ceramic methods that can effectively remove major health concerts such as lead from your water. Some larger, premium countertop filters even utilize reverse osmosis membranes, which will filter your water on a molecular level.

Countertop filters are one of many options when it comes to home water treatment solutions. If you’re still trying to decide which model works for you, here’s our comprehensive article Comparing the different types of water filters.

What do they filter out?

Activated carbon countertop filters can be counted on to remove carbon-based contaminants, or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), from the mains supply. This includes common chemicals and gases such as chlorine and sulfur, which can significantly affect how your water tastes and smells.

Countertop filters that incorporate carbon blocks, ceramic cartridges, or reverse osmosis membranes will filter the above pollutants, plus a more worrying set of particulates, such as heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and even fluoride and minerals.

Countertop filters: Frequently Asked Questions

Most countertop filters can be separated into two types: those that contain a reservoir to store a large amount of prefiltered water, and those that operate on-demand, sourcing water straight from the tap, as and when is needed.

Occasionally, you’ll also see faucet-mounted filters classified as a ‘countertop.’ Seeing as these designs do live in plain sight in the kitchen, there’s some sense in this categorization. However, a true countertop filter is one that sits firmly on the counter surface.

These two common filter designs are very similar. Both (mostly) use carbon filtration to turn water that’s already certified as drinkable into a premium-tasting product. Differences emerge in the way that these carbon cartridges are packaged.

Because they’re attached to the faucet, some countertop filters can utilize water pressure to provide a slightly more powerful filter mechanism, when compared to a pitcher’s gravity-based pour-through system. Of course, pitcher designs are more portable, allowing them to be carried to a table or desk, as well as refrigerated. On the other hand, countertop filters are often more easily accessible, being stored right next to the water source.

If your countertop filter needs to attach the faucet, the most you’ll need to do in terms of installation is swap out your tap’s aerator. This is the ring of metal, brass, or plastic at the very end of the faucet, which is responsible for creating a steady, even stream of water, shaping the flow through a sieve-like structure.

Countertop filters take advantage of the way that aerators attach the faucet end, using the pre-existing threading to screw in their own valve. For this purpose, most filters will come supplied with several adaptors to fit differently sized appliances.

By the same token, not all faucets will be compatible with countertop filter valves. Those with retractable spray hoses, for example, as well as heritage or bespoke models, may not work with this filter type.

Yes. For those filters that do attach to your faucet, there should be a directional valve integrated into the design, which will allow you to change the flow of water from the filter hose to the sink. When the valve is switched off, water should run (unfiltered) into the sink as normal—although so countertop filter owners do report a slight decrease in flowrate.

Countertop water filters are a convenient trade-off between the low price of basic pitcher-style filters (think: Brita) and more robust under-sink models, which often require professional installation and considerable space inside your cupboard.

Like faucet-mounted filters, these devices sit on or near your sink, with some models attaching directly to the tap via a hose. This means no annoying trips between the fridge and the tap to refill reservoirs, nor the need to wait while water cycles through the device.

Unlike faucet and pitcher filters, however, countertop water filters don’t need to fit onto your tap or in your fridge, so they’re less constrained in terms of cartridge size, and the components that will up filtering power and flowrate.

All of which goes to say that a countertop filtering is a smart choice for home treatment. Based on our review process, these are the best countertop water filters you can purchase at the moment:

Sale
Brondell H630 H2O+ Cypress Countertop Water Filter System, 11.5x11x4.25, White/Black
  • POWERFUL FILTRATION: three-stage patented Nanotrap technology delivers high quality filtration usually found only in more complex under-counter systems
  • CONVENIENT FAUCET ATTACHMENT: easily attaches to your faucet without compromising power of filtration, fits most faucets with provided adapters
  • INSPIRED DESIGN: elegant and slim profile countertop design with ergonomic push-button control for dispensing water
  • INDEPENDENT LAB TESTED and CERTIFIED: by WQA (Water Quality Association) for NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, and 372
  • EASY INSTALLATION: can be installed in under 10 minutes, filter replacement is quick and simple;Do not use with water that is unsafe or of unknown quality
AquaTru - Countertop Water Filtration Purification System with Perfect Minerals Drops - Exclusive 4-Stage Ultra Reverse Osmosis Technology (No Plumbing or Installation Required) | BPA Free
  • We paired AQUA TRU Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System & PERFECT MINERALS Drops Which Raise the Body's PH to Alkaline: Helps prevent an "Acidic" environment a higher PH reduces the chances of dangerous cells being able to thrive in the human body.
  • CERTIFIED to NSF Standards by IAMPO to remove 82 CONTAMINANTS - that's 15X more contaminants than the leading pitcher filters. AquaTru removes such poisons as Lead 99.1%, Hexavalent Chromium 97.2%, Copper 95.2%, Fluoride 93.5%, Radium 96.4%, and Chlorine 96.6% (to name a few). In fact, it's designed to remove 1000's of pollutants that could be lurking in your tap water. Taste the Difference!
  • NO PLUMBING OR INSTALLATION required - plug in and start purifying. AquaTru’s Patented RO countertop system COSTS CONSIDERABLY LESS than fully installed, under-the-counter RO systems, while at the same time, delivering often Cleaner, Purer, and Better Tasting Water. Why waste money & crowd landfills with bottled water (93% recently found in study to contain micro-plastics). Invest in your health, the planet & long-term savings with a AquaTru's patented Ultra Reverse Osmosis system.
  • 1 FULL SET OF QUICK CHANGING TWIST-AND-SEAL FILTERS come included with your first AQUA TRU system, and last from 6 months to 2 years. SLEEK COMPACT DESIGN - 14'' Tall x 14'' Deep x 12'' Wide - Purifies 1 gallon of tap water into better-than-bottled-quality water in just 12-15 minutes.
  • 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED - 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. If for any reason, you are not happy, you can get a refund - no questions asked! Many popular water filters and water purifier systems claim to turn dirty water ‘pure’, but unfortunately, leave serious chemicals and contaminants behind. With AQUA TRU, you can feel confident that you are getting ULTRA-PURE WATER from a reverse osmosis system that has undergone extensive analysis, tests and certifications.
APEX Countertop Drinking Water Filter - 5 Stage Mineral Cartridge - Alkaline Filtration System - for Purified Water (Chrome)
  • REDUCES HARMFUL CONTAMINANTS IN TAP WATER: Removes 99% of substances commonly found in sink tap water like chlorine which contribute to bad odors in your water, chloramine, benzene, radon, and heavy metals. This filter will also add Magnesium, Potassium and Calcium raising the alkalinity of your water. NOTE: ALKALINE WATER WILL RAISES TDS LEVELS DUE TO THE MINERALS ADDED IN WATER.
  • CONNECTS TO DOMESTIC FAUCET MODELS: APEX countertop filters have been designed to conveniently sit right on the kitchen counter top next to sinks. It is simple to install, and connects easily to most standard household kitchen faucets. All the necessary hardware is included for easy do-it-yourself installation. NOTE: PLEASE MAKE SURE ONE OF THE ADAPTERS WILL FIT YOUR FAUCET OR ELSE THE UNIT WILL BE NON-FUNCTIONAL.
  • COST-EFFECTIVE WATER FILTER: By using an APEX counter top alkaline water filter, you can stop wasting money on small disposable bottles of water that just get thrown away when empty. Buying bottled water for daily home consumption gets expensive and tedious. You don’t have to lug heavy water jugs or cases to your house to enjoy fresh clean drinking water. APEX water filters are the solution.
  • ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE: Owning a good bottleless water dispenser device can not only save you money, but it is the responsible choice for helping to eliminate the millions of plastic water bottles piling up in landfills each year. We only have one world, but it is quickly being polluted by unnecessary water bottles that can be reduced by having your own cleaner filtered smart water source at home.
  • PURCHASE WITH CONFIDENCE: Includes 30-day money-back and limited one-year manufacturer's warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
Sale
Aquasana AQ-4000W Countertop Drinking Water Filter System, White
  • Removes over 97% of chlorine and reduces 76 other contaminants - NSF certified to remove lead, pharmaceuticals and more
  • No waste water or harmful contaminants added to your drinking water during the filtration process
  • Retains the healthy minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium for the healthiest water
  • Only 11 cents per gallon - 11 times the capacity of the leading gravity-based filter pitcher
  • Easily attaches - no permanent fixtures or installation required. Filtered water right from your tap

What’s different about countertop water filters?

Among many home water filter products on the market today, countertop water filters might just be the most user-friendly. Not only do they take little to zero effort in terms of installation, but their larger cartridges mean that replacements are required less often.

Countertop models source their water either from a large reservoir that you’ll need to manually fill, or from a hose and directional valve attached directly to the faucet. For faucet models, filtered water is created simply by turning on the water, and allowing it to flow through the filter (which will normally have its own dedicated tap). Countertop filters that use reservoirs may take some time to build up a ready supply of filtered water, but can be easily topped-up.

In terms of exactly how countertop systems remove contaminants from your water, this category of filters may have the largest range of filtering mechanisms. From activated carbon cartridges that operate similarly to Brita-style pitchers, to purifiers and sediment removers, to silver and ceramic methods that can effectively remove major health concerts such as lead from your water. Some larger, premium countertop filters even utilize reverse osmosis membranes, which will filter your water on a molecular level.

Countertop filters are one of many options when it comes to home water treatment solutions. If you’re still trying to decide which model works for you, here’s our comprehensive article Comparing the different types of water filters.

What do they filter out?

Activated carbon countertop filters can be counted on to remove carbon-based contaminants, or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), from the mains supply. This includes common chemicals and gases such as chlorine and sulfur, which can significantly affect how your water tastes and smells.

Countertop filters that incorporate carbon blocks, ceramic cartridges, or reverse osmosis membranes will filter the above pollutants, plus a more worrying set of particulates, such as heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and even fluoride and minerals.

FAQs

Most countertop filters can be separated into two types: those that contain a reservoir to store a large amount of prefiltered water, and those that operate on-demand, sourcing water straight from the tap, as and when is needed.

Occasionally, you’ll also see faucet-mounted filters classified as a ‘countertop.’ Seeing as these designs do live in plain sight in the kitchen, there’s some sense in this categorization. However, a true countertop filter is one that sits firmly on the counter surface.

These two common filter designs are very similar. Both (mostly) use carbon filtration to turn water that’s already certified as drinkable into a premium-tasting product. Differences emerge in the way that these carbon cartridges are packaged.

Because they’re attached to the faucet, some countertop filters can utilize water pressure to provide a slightly more powerful filter mechanism, when compared to a pitcher’s gravity-based pour-through system. Of course, pitcher designs are more portable, allowing them to be carried to a table or desk, as well as refrigerated. On the other hand, countertop filters are often more easily accessible, being stored right next to the water source.

If your countertop filter needs to attach the faucet, the most you’ll need to do in terms of installation is swap out your tap’s aerator. This is the ring of metal, brass, or plastic at the very end of the faucet, which is responsible for creating a steady, even stream of water, shaping the flow through a sieve-like structure.

Countertop filters take advantage of the way that aerators attach the faucet end, using the pre-existing threading to screw in their own valve. For this purpose, most filters will come supplied with several adaptors to fit differently sized appliances.

By the same token, not all faucets will be compatible with countertop filter valves. Those with retractable spray hoses, for example, as well as heritage or bespoke models, may not work with this filter type.

Yes. For those filters that do attach to your faucet, there should be a directional valve integrated into the design, which will allow you to change the flow of water from the filter hose to the sink. When the valve is switched off, water should run (unfiltered) into the sink as normal—although so countertop filter owners do report a slight decrease in flowrate.