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
AlcaPure Zero Installation Purifier Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter with Patented High Capacity 4 Stage Technology - Superior Taste, Purity, Alkaline pH | No Installation or Assembly Required
  • Zero Installation Purifier transforms ordinary tap water into clean, healthy and delicious drinking water. Choose AlcaPure Edition for Alkaline 7-8 pH or OnliPure Edition for ZERO TDS - purest tasting water.
  • Modern, stylish, compact design will beautify any kitchen. Perfect for apartments, condos & RV’s. Since water is loaded and dispensed from the front of the unit, you can place it even in the tightest spaces imaginable. No additional top or side clearance is required.
  • Easy to use: no assembly required, no installation, no leaky diverter valves or messy hoses.
  • BPA Free. Removes up to 99% of all contaminants: Fluoride, Chlorine, Heavy Metals & others.
  • 50% recovery rate highest among reverse osmosis filters. Uses less power than a lightbulb only 30 Wats.
New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus Water Filter System
  • DRINK SAFE WATER: Remove contaminants found in tap water such as chlorine, lead, trihalomethanes, organic and inorganic arsenic, mercury, pesticides, and herbicides for up to 800 gallons.  The only complete All-In-One filter available.
  • VERSATILE:  Odorless, great-tasting water at your kitchen sink.  All the water you want anytime you want it.   A must-have for making coffee, tea, water for pets and plants, and washing produce to keep your cooking as clean as your water.
  • SUSTAINABLE: Filtering water at home is great for the environment. Your 10 Stage Plus System filters up to 800 gallons, equal to 6,000 single-use bottles! Replace your filter cartridge annually to save an additional 6,000 bottles per year.
  • COST-EFFECTIVE FILTRATION: Enjoy 800 gallons of filtered water for 2 cents per glass, and only a penny per glass with your purchase of New Wave Enviro's 10 Stage Plus Replacement Cartridge year after year.
  • EASY CONNECTION: All hardware and detailed instructions included. The 10 Stage Plus System is for countertop use only, any other installation may cause property damage. Spray/non-standard faucet see New Wave Enviro’s 10 Stage Plus Under sink Unit.
Sale
Apex Countertop Drinking Water Filter, Alkaline, Clear (MR-1050)
  • REDUCES CONTAMINANTS IN TAP WATER: The APEX Clear Countertop Alkaline Drinking Water Filter System removes contaminants commonly found in tap water, like chlorine, sediment, and radon. It also filters Cryptosporidium, and Giardia cysts, which contribute to water-borne illnesses. APEX water filters remove mercury and harmful pesticides to give you delicious, sparkling, fresh clean drinking water.
  • CONNECTS TO STANDARD FAUCETS: APEX’s Clear countertop water filter system has been designed to conveniently sit right on your kitchen counter. It is simple to install, and connects easily to most standard kitchen faucets. All the necessary hardware is included for easy do-it-yourself installation. Simply remove the aerator screen from the faucet and screw on the collar of the APEX diverter valve.
  • COST-EFFECTIVE WATER FILTER: By using an APEX countertop 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 home to enjoy fresh clean drinking water. APEX water filters are the solution.
  • ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE: Owning your own bottleless kitchen water dispenser 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 filtered water source at home.
  • MADE IN THE USA: Proudly made in the USA, APEX makes all of their products according to the National Safety Foundation certified water filter safety standards and requirements. By following the strict guidelines of the NSF and the FDA, we ensure that the water your family drinks is completely safe and healthy. Let APEX clean and protect your drinking water so you don’t have to worry about it.

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.

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
iSpring CKC1C Countertop Drinking Water Filtration System with Carbon Filter, 2.5" x 10", Clear
  • CLEAR HOUSING - See-through housing allows you to visually inspect the filter and know when it's time for a filter change
  • ULTRA SAFE - Includes a standard 5 micron Carbon Block Cartridge that removes 95% of chlorine, odors, sand, silt, sediment and rust from your drinking water. Highly effective on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals. Tested by independent third-party to meet NSF/ANSI Standards.
  • EASY INSTALLATION - No drilling required. Portable and easy to install. Sleek and efficient design offers a natural look on any counter. Perfect for small spaces.
  • COMPLETE FILTRATION - A standard 10 inch CTO cartridge, a plastic wrench, two faucet adapters, tubing and O-ring included for a leak-free install
  • TOP-NOTCH SUPPORT - 30 day money back guarantee, 1 year limited warranty and lifetime technical support from Atlanta, Georgia

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.