boy drinking water in front of green background

Yet another thing to make a decision about: choosing the right water filter. As if you thought you could get away with buying one of those typical refrigerator pitcher filters (activated carbon filters) and be confident that you are drinking contaminant free water. Sigh. If only it were that easy!

Not all water filters are created equal, and there are many different kinds of filters on the market. It can feel a little daunting to compare them all without some background. And that’s why we’re here to help, by giving you the best information to find a water filter that removes the most contaminants. But we have to first preface: no filter system will be 100% guaranteed at removing all contaminants from water. However, if you go into your search knowing what you want, you can get almost close to perfection.

So what are these common contaminants?

Have you ever stopped to think about the various contaminants that run through the water in your tap? While some of the substances that come through your tap are actually harmless or even beneficial, like chlorine (keeps your water safe from germs and fluoride), there are other substances whose presence is less than welcome. Here are a few of the central contaminants:

  • Lead: Most often, lead gets in our water system from pipes. If testing from your public or private water source reveals that lead levels are at or above 15 ppb (parts per billion) then you should definitely look into getting a water filter to lessen the amount.

  • Arsenic: This is a heavy metal found in ground water sources, and commonly associated with health problems such as discoloration of skin and digestive problems. It comes in two forms: trivalent or pentavalent. If your water is treated with chlorine, you are more likely to have pentavalent arsenic, which can be removed by filters labeled with NSF 53 or 58. If your water is not treated, you need to add a pre-oxidation step to convert it to pentavalent arsenic before filtering.

  • Nitrates: These are chemicals that get into groundwater from contamination with fertilizer, manure, septic systems. They are harmful in that they make it hard for red blood cells to carry oxygen.

  • Aluminum: It’s not surprising that the third most common element in our earth’s soil, water and air could end up in our water systems. Aluminum linked health effects include anemia and kidney diseases.

  • Bacteria, viruses and parasites: Such as Cryptosporidium or Giardia lamblia, these contaminants can quickly cause serious health issues. The originate from human or animal waste that washes into lakes or from irrigation water that goes into shallow groundwater aquifers.

Now that you’re more aware of some of the most common and most harmful water contaminants, here’s your snappy guide to determine the best water filter that can eliminate as much of them as possible!

5 Steps to Finding the Best Water Contaminant Filter

Once you find the right water filter, all you have to do is turn on the tap for a nice glass of clean, fresh, drinking water.

Home water filter with clear water on windowsill


Ultimately, you need a water filter that is effective at removing the contaminants you’re most worried about, is easy for you to use and your budget.