Water filter pitchers make access to purer, better-tasting water simple and convenient. By adding a pitcher to your repertoire of kitchen tools and appliances, you’re giving you and your family or housemates a small but satisfying bump in your everyday experience, often for a pretty reasonable price.

Choosing the right water filter pitcher is about finding a product that fits with how your home runs on a daily basis. This means having an idea of how much drinking water you go through, how often you’ll be likely to reach for a water pitcher, and whereabouts in your home a filter would be most useful—the refrigerator, the dining table, the bedroom, your desk, etc.

No matter how exactly you intend to use your pitcher filter, there’s a product designed with your needs in mind. To help, we’ve compiled this list of the best water filter pitchers out there right now. From the ubiquitous Brita filter to other lesser-known but worthy products, these devices will faithfully filter your tap water for as long as you need them to. 

Remember: Water filter pitchers are designed to improve the quality and taste of pre-treated, certified drinking water. So, while they may be able to remove an impressive list of bad-tasting and potentially harmful contaminants (see below), pitcher filters are not capable of turning pond water into Evian—and should not be used as such!

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Nakii Pitcher Water Filter with Electric Pump by Aquaphor – Strongest & Fastest Filtration – Removes Bacteria, Fluoride, Lead, Chlorine, Chromium-6, Heavy Metals, Lime Scale and More – Long Lasting
  • EXCLUSIVE TECHNOLOGY: Unlike all Pitcher Filters on the market that work with gravity, the J.SHMIDT A500 is a portable active filtration system that employs a custom micro-pump to combine the characteristics of a high-quality stationary water purifier with the portability of a filter jug – the ONLY pitcher on the market to do so!
  • THE ONLY PITCHER THAT FILTERS BACTERIA: Aquaphor’s patented technology removes practically all toxic pollution, bacteria (Escherichia Coli 1257, Enterobacter Cloacae, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa) and cysts through a hollow fiber membrane with 0.1- 0.01 micron pores; an activated composite mixture with Aqualene aids the filtering while retaining healthy minerals such as magnesium and calcium
  • POWERFUL LONG-LASTING PURIFICATION: In addition to purifying water of bacteria, the J.SHMIDT A500 filter has a remarkable capacity to purify 2,114 cups of water of active chlorine, zinc, chloroform, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, it will soften the water removing hardness causing lime scale ; an LED microprocessor indicates when to replace the filter and charge the battery
  • SAFE AND ECO-FRIENDLY: Filter Made In EU, 100% BPA-Free, 100% Approved Food Grade Materials, 100% Recyclable, 100% Vegan And Has Been Rigorously Tested To Meet And Exceed NSF Standards For Contaminant Reduction
  • PERFECT FOR TRAVEL: Buy The Aquaphor J.SHMIDT A500 If You Are Traveling To Other Countries That May Not Have The Cleanest Water And You Will Have Unlimited Access To Clean, Safe Water Without Destroying The Environment With Plastic Water Bottles
Seychelle pH2O Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher - pH Enhancing Filtration - 200 Gallon Capacity - USA-Made Filter, BPA-Free, 64oz
  • ✅ MILLIONS OF AMERICANS DRINK CONTAMINATED WATER EVERY DAY - These contaminates have been linked to a growing list of devastating, life changing health issues. Help protect you and your family's heath. Each Seychelle water filter is tested to remove Lead, Mercury, Asbestos, Chromium 6, Benzene, MTBEs, VOCs, THMs, Chloroform, Arsenic, Fluoride and many more.
  • ✅ ENHANCES pH UP TO 9.5 - By decreasing water micro clusters from 12 molecules down to 4-6, alkaline water is more quickly and easily absorbed. This increased hydration helps flush harmful toxins from your body more quickly. The result of this healthy mineralized water: increased energy levels, improved heath, slowed aging process, and restored younger looking skin.
  • ✅ BETTER TASTING WATER AND BEVERAGES - Taste the difference in your morning coffee, tea, lemon-aid, or other favorite drinks. The alkaline water base liquid is perfect for helping neutralize the high acidity of these drinks. Use Seychelle's smooth tasting high pH water year round from hot coco in the frosty winter, to refreshing iced tea and lemonade on sweltering summer days.
  • ✅ SIGNIFICANT COST SAVINGS - While another type of alkaline water machine can cost well over $1,000, Seychelle gives you superior benefits for a fraction of the cost. The large capacity of 100 gallons per filter also provides you with significantly longer filtration life than other similar alkaline water filter products.
  • ✅ PROUDLY MADE IN USA - Beware of other water filter companies with untested filters manufactured overseas. Put your trust in premium Seychelle Water Filters that are manufactured in an ISO 14000 certified facility. This facility has been routinely tested to meet the highest quality standards for over 20 years.
Waterdrop Chubby 10-Cup Water Filter Pitcher with 1 Filter, Long-Lasting (200 gallons), 5X Times Lifetime Filtration Jug, Reduces Lead, Fluoride, Chlorine and More, BPA Free, Blue
  • Effective filtration: Using 7-stage water pitcher filter technology, the Waterdrop Chubby water filter pitcher tests the water to eliminate to the barest minimum. Reducing heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and other contaminants such as fluoride, chlorine, as well as any existent foul taste and odor. Offering you healthier and better-tasting water. 3-pack replacement filters are available for purchase! (search model: WD-PF-01A Plus)
  • Exceptional quality: The product is made up of high-grade BPA-free plastic, with a simple, yet rigid natural wooden handle, which makes handling of the equipment easier. Using silver-loaded activated carbon and highly efficient ACF from Japan for the premium water pitcher filter, you are assured of optimal filter performance.
  • Long-lasting life with risk-free guarantee: The high-quality filters produce over 200 gallons of water before replacement. Plus, one Waterdrop Chubby water filter pitcher replaces over 1600 standard 16-oz bottle water. This pitcher also comes with a 90-day guarantee, quality assurance, and prompt service delivery.
  • Intelligent indicator: Our Intelligent design ensures a healthier and hassle-free life for users, as you can monitor water quality at any time. Thanks to the replaceable intelligent indicator which can sense when water is being poured, you can now see the usage state of the filter element based on the display mode of the LED (light-emitting diode) in real time.
  • Innovative design: Waterdrop Chubby water filter pitcher design allows the pitcher’s water filter to be perfectly placed on most fridge doors, the innovative design of the spout lid can help keep dust and other particles from getting into the pitcher. It is very easy to refill the pitcher, as you don’t even need to remove the lid.

Key points

  • Almost all water filter pitchers on the market use activated carbon cartridges to remove contaminants from water. Activated carbon is able to adsorb organic molecules to its surface, which makes it great at catching any carbon-based compound that’s snuck into your water supply: chlorine and other treatment byproducts, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from industrial processes, and some traces of herbicides and pesticides.

  • By the same token, carbon filters are not effective at removing dissolved inorganic contaminants. So think viruses, small bacteria, most nitrates, and heavy metals such as lead. While there are carbon filters out there capable of catching these worrying pollutants, the components in those products (such as in carbon block filters) are specially designed and treated to do so.

  • Whenever you’re buying any filter, always look for an NSF International certification to ensure that the product you’re purchasing can genuinely live up to it’s filtering claims. For water pitcher filters, the most relevant NSF standards are numbers 42 and 53.

  • Because of the way that adsorption works, the carbon inside pitcher filters has a certain lifespan. Once the surface of the carbon is saturated with contaminants, the filter will no longer be effective, and it’s time to replace the cartridge. Each water filter pitcher comes with its own recommendations for replacement schedules, but in general, most cartridges should filter around 40-100 gallons of water per cartridge.

Because of the way that adsorption works, the carbon inside pitcher filters has a certain lifespan. Once the surface of the carbon is saturated with contaminants, the filter will no longer be effective, and it’s time to replace the cartridge. Each water filter pitcher comes with its own recommendations for replacement schedules, but in general, most cartridges should filter around 40-100 gallons of water per cartridge.

Brita Large 10 Cup Water Filter Pitcher with 1 Standard Filter, BPA Free - Grand, Black Bubbles
  • LARGE WATER PITCHER: This large, plastic water filtration pitcher is easy to pour and refill. The space efficient pitcher fits perfectly on refrigerator shelves and is great for families. Height 10.16"; Width 5.77"; Length/Depth 11"; Weight 2.48 pounds
  • CLEANER AND GREAT TASTING: The BPA free Brita filter reduces chlorine (taste and odor), copper, mercury, zinc and cadmium impurities found in tap water for cleaner great tasting water. Substances reduced may not be in all users' water
  • FILTER CHANGE REMINDER: For optimum performance, a helpful status indicator on your filtered water pitcher notifies you when your water filter needs to be replaced
  • REDUCE WASTE & SAVE: One Brita water filter can replace 300 standard 16 ounce water bottles which saves you money and reduces plastic waste
  • REPLACEMENTS: Change Brita standard filters every 40 gallons, about 2 months for the average household for optimal performance – that’s 2.5x longer than Zero water filters
Brita 18 Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser with 1 Filter, BPA Free, Gray, Extra Large
  • SPACE EFFICIENT: The BPA-Free UltraMax Water Dispenser holds 18 cups or 1.13 gallons of water which is great for families and fits neatly on countertops and refrigerator shelves. Height 10.47"; Width 5.67"; Length/Depth 14.37"; Weight 3 pounds
  • CLEANER AND GREAT TASTING: The Brita standard filter reduces chlorine (taste and odor), copper, mercury, zinc and cadmium impurities found in tap water for cleaner great tasting water for the whole family. Substances reduced may not be in all users' water
  • FILTER CHANGE REMINDER: A helpful sticker indicator on the water dispenser lets you keep track of when you last changed your water filter and when it needs to be replaced. Replace Brita filters every 40 gallons or every 2 months
  • INSTANT POUR: This large, 18 cup filtered water dispenser has a spigot that makes pouring easy. With the flip top lid, refilling is a breeze
  • REDUCE WASTE & SAVE: One Brita standard water filter can replace 300 standard 16 oz water bottles which saves you money and reduces plastic waste

Activated carbon

Activated carbon is a highly porous charcoal, which is usually created from wood, nutshells, or coconut husks! After producing charcoal through specific types of burning or chemical treatment, the material is ground into a fine powder, creating millions of pores between the carbon atoms.

This process gives activated carbon an absolutely huge surface area. A single gram of material can boast a surface area in excess of 3,000 meters squared or about three-quarters of an acre. The term ‘activated’ refers to the extent to which this surface area is able to make contact with contaminants in water, and bind them to the surface of the carbon. The more surface area; the more contact sites; the more opportunities for filtering.

Contaminants bind to activated carbon through adsorption, and will generally adsorb anything with a carbon composition. That means chlorine, and what are often referred to as Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs). VOCs come from human activity—industrial and household products such as paint, gasoline, and solvents.

Common VOCs should already be dealt with under the EPAs Chemical Contaminant Rules. But due to their abundance, traces often make their way into the tap supply through groundwater, and from there into lakes and reservoirs. Some VOCs are also created during the water treatment process itself, when chemicals react with organic matter like dead leaves.

If you need a full rundown on how activated carbon works in water filters, we’ve put together an article on Everything you need to know about carbon filtering [INTERNAL]. For most of us, however, it’s enough to know that carbon is a highly reliable, tried-and-tested way of improving drinking water.

NSF International

Since 1944, the National Sanitation Foundation has been testing and certifying products from several sectors, including medical technology, air quality, and water treatment. It now claims the title of the world’s largest water filter testing lab.

The NSF has parity with other large testing bodies, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American National Standards Institue (ANSI). This means that you only need to worry about finding an NSF badge when trying to determine filter quality.

There are two main NSF certifications to look for when shopping for water treatment products: Standard 42 and Standard 53.

  • Standard 42 covers the safety of filter materials, product structural integrity, and claims related to aesthetic, non-health-related contaminant reduction performance (i.e. water taste and smell).
  • Standard 53 says that a filter is capable of reducing removing lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), or health-related bacterial contaminants such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Note: a standard 53 filter may only remove one of these categories of contaminants.

Here’s our explainer on Water Filter Certifications [INTERNAL], for the full details on what each marker of confidence means.

FAQs

An NSF certified carbon filter will greatly reduce or remove the following organic compounds and VOCs:

  • Chlorine
  • Trihalomethanes (THM)
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Radon gases
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

However, carbon filters (apart from carbon block and multi-stage filters) won’t take out significant levels of:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Heavy metals
  • Nitrates
  • Flouride

Because it’s a physical process, adsorption as a filtering principle is time-limited. Once all of the binding sites in a piece of activated carbon are used up, the filter won’t be efficient anymore. This is why all carbon filters are designed with carbon cartridges, which can be replaced periodically.

In general, activated carbon water filters can be expected to last between 2 and 6 months, depending on their size. How often water is filtered and source water quality will affect this lifespan.

Aside from any on-filter indicators, plus product-specific recommendations and guidelines, you can generally gauge the effectiveness of your filter by performing taste, appearance, and smell comparisons with your raw tap water.

For more in-depth indications of water quality, home-testing kits are available (though we can’t vouch for their accuracy). If you have a serious concern about contaminants in your drinking water, switch to another potable source, and contact your local water supplier.

Additional Water Filter Pitcher Information

  • Looking for a filter that will protect you against lead, protozoa, and other harmful drinking water contaminants? You’ll need a reverse osmosis or multi-stage water filter. These products are more likely to be found in properties using private or well-water sources and are installed at the point of entry into a home, filtering all of the water you use.
  • The EPA sets legal limits on over 90 contaminants in drinking water, including organic compounds and VOCs. So for most of us, there’s no significant health benefit to filtering water. This isn’t to say, however, that water filter pitchers won’t improve you’re drinking water experience. Thanks to sediments and chlorination, even ‘clean’ tap water can taste pretty gross. A pitcher filter will ensure you’re only ever dealing with the tastiest, most refreshing H2O.