Maybe your water smells funny and tastes metallic, or perhaps, you are plagued by low pressure. These could be signs that it is time to change your water filter. The best water filters not only improve the taste of your water but they can also remove many of the harmful materials that hide in your water supply.  

While no water filter will completely remove every single contaminant, the best water filters can purify your water and help protect your family’s health. Those who depend on well water could be at a higher risk for contaminants, but that is where a water filter can help.

Based on our in-depth analysis and thousands of real customer reviews, these are the best water filters in 2021. 

Buyer’s guide

Best splurge



At a glance

The Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher is a workhorse, removing 2,000% more common contaminants than the leading competitor. This includes crucial materials like lead, chlorine, cadmium, microplastics, herbicides, and pesticides. Unlike many other popular brands, the Aquagear filter uses selective filtration to retain the healthy minerals that your body needs, like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

With a capacity of 120 gallons, it far exceeds the lifetime of other water filters while still holding eight full cups of water. Using BPA-free, recyclable materials, the Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher is inspected in an ISO 17025 accredited lab and topped off with a lifetime guarantee. Even better, Aquagear gifts six months of clean water to someone in need with every purchase.

 The Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher includes a lifetime guarantee with same-day customer support.



  • Longer filtering time

  • Limited size

  • Pricier filter

Best for families



At a glance

The Brita 18-Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser is an oversized pitcher designed for big families and large groups. It is large enough to hold 18 cups of water. That is equal to about six 24oz water bottles, making this pitcher especially convenient for those after-school practices and morning runs. Brita estimates that you can reduce your use of plastic water bottles by 1,800 bottles each year by using its water filter dispenser. In addition to BPA-free materials, Brita adds convenient bonus features like its precision pour spigot and easy locking lid. Despite its enormous capacity, the space-efficient design is still compact enough to fit on a refrigerator shelf. 

Brita’s 18-Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser tackles certain minerals in your water, including chlorine, to perfect both your water’s taste and odor. The water filter also removes any mercury, copper, zinc, and cadmium that may be lurking in your water supply. While compatible with a Standard filter, the Longlast+ filter lasts approximately six months before a replacement is needed.  It is three times longer than the life of a standard filter. 



Best lifespan



At a glance

The Brita Standard Everyday Water Filter Pitcher is excellent for the average user, with an adequate size that holds either ten cups of water or three 24oz reusable water bottles. Using advanced filter technology, its design is certified to remove a number of different contaminants, including copper, mercury and cadmium. It also makes any necessary chlorine adjustments to improve both taste and smell. However, it is far more limited in its removal process than other pitchers, like the UltraMax.

Still, the Everyday Water Filter Pitcher is a lightweight and extremely space-efficient water filter pitcher that incorporates an easy-fill lid for simple refills. There is also a helpful sticker indicator that quickly shows you when a refill is needed. It uses the Standard filter, which gives each filter a life of approximately two months before a replacement filter is needed. 



Best for contaminant removal



At a glance

The Clearly Filtered Pitcher incorporates its own exclusive Affinity® Filtration Technology, which delivers incredible, industry-leading results. It is designed for heavy-duty performance, with up to 99.9% removal of over 230 toxic chemicals and metals within your tap water. This includes fluoride, lead, glyphosate, and hormones while retaining the necessary minerals and nutrients. The lid’s built-in water dam allows water to gather before it is filtered, requiring less work for you when it comes time for a refill. 

The Clearly Filtered Pitcher is composed of BPA-free, food-grade, and medical-grade Tritan materials and has passed independent testing to meet industry NSF standards. Capacity is great, too, with the pitcher holding 80 ounces or about ten cups of water. Its accompanying filter lasts 100 gallons, which typically takes about four months for the average user.



Best budget



At a glance

The Waterdrop Chubby is an industry leader when it comes to a budget water filter pitcher. 

Its capacity is limited to just ten cups or 3.5L, but its filter promises a long life of up to 200 gallons, the most of any water filter on our list. In addition to the convenient spout lid, the intelligent indicator is a convenient addition that automatically senses when you are pouring water, showing filter usage on the LED display. Just one Chubby water filter allows for more than 1600 16oz water bottles before replacement is needed.

Multi-stage water filter technology is combined with silver-loaded activated carbon to purify your water. It works to reduce the amount of impurities in your water, targeting contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, and lead. The design features a plastic pitcher that is made from lead-free NSF 372-certified materials and is also NSF 42-certified, reducing the effects of chlorine in your water, significantly improving smell and taste. 


  • Automatic lid

  • Smart filter indicator

  • 7-step filtration


Best lead removal



At a glance

The ZeroWater 10-Cup Ready Pour Pitcher is built to pour water without sacrificing quality quickly. There is excellent water flow with a comfort-grip handle and Ready-Pure technology, a plus when you are in a hurry. Refills will not come as often with its capacity of 80oz, but a Quick Fill spigot makes it easy to add water when needed. The entire pitcher is also BPA-free.

The 10-Cup Ready Pour Pitcher uses ZeroWater’s signature 5-stage water filtration system that works to eliminate total dissolved solids within your water while also reducing lead and other contaminants. Each filter typically lasts around twenty gallons, depending on use. There is even a free laboratory-grade Water Quality Meter that is included with your purchase to help you track improvements.



How did we choose these products?

Water filters have become more and more popular since research has proven the health benefits that they can provide. However, each water filter can be significantly different from the last. If you are not familiar with how water filters work, finding the right one for your family’s needs can be very difficult.

There are several types of water filters available today:

  • Water filter pitchers are often the most affordable and accessible options for water filtration, using a replaceable filter that is built into the pitcher itself. Although convenient, there is often a limited capacity, so it is best used for light use.

  • A countertop filter is usually much larger than the average water filter pitcher, holding a greater amount of water with an easily accessible design.

  • A faucet filter attaches directly to your sink’s faucet with a switch to activate and turn off the system. Because it is linked to your sink, there is no need to refill water like you do with a pitcher.

  • Under-sink filters are installed underneath the sink and connected directly to your water line for unlimited filtration. There is typically a separate faucet installed, but be aware that filters for this type of filter are typically more expensive than water filter pitchers.

To find 2021’s best water filters, we consider several factors:

  • Contaminants: Consider which kinds of contaminants should be removed from your water. For example, while the Clearly Filtered Pitcher removes over 200 contaminants, others like the Brita Standard Everyday Water Filter Pitcher are more limited in what they can filter. 

  • Capacity: The size of your household and the amount of water you drink will help determine what size is appropriate for your needs. If you have more than four people in your household, you will likely need a larger pitcher that holds more water at a time. 

  • Filter: A filter’s lifespan matters because it determines how often you will need to replace your water filter. It is important to look for filters with longer longevity because, in addition to the hassle of repeatedly replacing your filter, it will end up costing you more, too. 

  • Price: Cost is always a concern, but water filter pitchers can differ significantly in price. Our picks for 2021’s best water filter pitchers range from around $27 to $50 each. The cost of replacement filters varies, depending on the model and brand. 

We also look to customer experience, analyzing thousands of real consumer reviews before determining the best water filters in 2021. 

Which is the right one for you?

With so many water filters on the market, they can all start to feel the same after a while. To find the right water filter for your needs, these considerations offer a great place to begin your search.

Water filter pitcher FAQ

What is a water filter system?

A water filter system is designed to remove the harmful materials commonly found in different types of drinking water, such as tap, well, and reclaimed water. A water filter system not only provides cleaner, healthier water for you to drink, but it usually tastes and smells significantly better, too.

What types of water filter systems are there?

There are several ways to use a water filter. Perhaps, most common are water filter pitchers, which use replaceable filters.  However, other options available include countertop water filters, faucet water filters, and under-sink water filters. 

What contaminants should a water filter remove?

Water filters commonly remove microscopic particles while reducing the amount of chlorine to improve taste and smell. Other minerals and contaminants that may be removed from your water include lead, radium, copper, herbicides, and pesticides.

Are there alternatives worth considering?

The best water filter for you largely depends on your usage. You may want to consider a faucet system if you have a big family, while others find a water pitcher perfect for small household use. 

With so many types of water filters available, these are some of the picks that almost made our list for 2021’s best water filters. 

While you are shopping, be sure to check out some of our other top picks for your home, including the best food processors, the best air fryers, and 2021’s best kitchen holiday gifts!

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