When searching for the best water filter for apartment living, you’ll have to decide between a freestanding unit (usually a pitcher or dispenser), a filter that attaches and dispenses from your faucet, or an under-sink system connected directly to your water supply.
While each of these options has benefits and drawbacks, some basic guidelines can help you decide which type is the best for you:
- Are you renting?
- If so, you’ll need to ask your landlord if you can make modifications to the plumbing to accommodate an under-sink system or a faucet attachment system.
- If they don’t allow you to tamper with the plumbing, you’ll have to use a freestanding unit, like a pitcher.
- Do you have a traditional faucet with a 1 ⅜ inch opening?
- If not, a faucet attachment isn’t likely to be compatible with your existing faucet.
- If you’re not sure, measure your faucet opening and check that it’ll be size-compatible if you choose to purchase a faucet attachment filter.
- Do you have space for an under-sink unit?
- Some (but not all) under-sink units require a water tank. Make sure your under-sink area can accommodate your chosen system before you purchase it.
With these guidelines in mind, let’s put some best-selling water filtration systems for apartment living to the test! But first, a science lesson.
Best Water Filter for Apartment
The combination of longevity, ease of installation, and price make the CuZn UC-200 the best water filter for apartment living, hands-down.
1. CuZn UC-200
At a little above $100, this water filter strikes the perfect balance between high-ticket reverse osmosis filters—which aren’t always easy to install, generally take up significant space, and require multiple filter replacements—and lower-budget freestanding water filters. And for the price, the longevity is unbeatable: once installed, the filter lasts for five years, at which point you replace the entire unit with a fresh one. For a five-year lifespan, you can’t beat the price.
But, if this best all-around choice is out of your budget, you’re too busy for the installation process, or you’re looking for something more sophisticated, read on discover other highly-rated water filtration systems for apartment living.
2. O-CONN Faucet Water Filter
Armed with a traditional filter (the first filter is included with your purchase), the unit can be quickly and easily added to your existing faucet. The filters need to be changed once every three to six months, depending on water usage.
The best part? The unit has a switch on the side, allowing users to switch back and forth between tap and filtered water. Since you’re unlikely to use filtered water to do your dishes, the switch helps extend the life of the replaceable filter. The O-CONN Faucet Water Filter is a no-brainer for apartment living on a budget.
3. Waterdrop 10UA Under-Sink Water Filter System
While the Waterdrop presents a larger up-front cost, the low frequency of filter replacement presents potential long-term savings.
The traditional filter is easy to install and is hidden away under the sink, freeing up precious counter space. Just connect one end of the filter to your cold water supply, and connect the other end of the filter to your faucet. Installation is easy, and the system immediately begins filtering all of your tap water.
Not everyone has time to read an installation guide or sink valuable time into installing and maintaining their apartment water filter. If ease of use is your top priority, the following filter systems may strike your fancy.
4. Brita Extra Large 18 Cup Dispenser
Brita’s traditional filters are affordable, accessible, and only need to be changed every six months. For $31.88, this freestanding dispenser requires no installation and very little maintenance, making it an outstanding choice for your apartment water filtration.
5. Waterdrop Chubby 10 Cup Pitcher
Since the recommended daily water intake is anywhere between a half and a whole gallon per day, the Waterdrop’s filter could last anywhere from 200 to 400 days. That’s some of the best longevity on the market! Since this pitcher doesn’t require any installation, it’s as easy as taking it out of the box, filtering some water, and sticking it in the fridge or on the counter. Depending on your water intake, you may be able to set it and forget it for an entire year.
6. Aquaphor Onyx Pitcher
While the filters have to be replaced every three months, some users looking for the best water filter for apartment living may be able to overlook the maintenance requirement in light of the Aquaphor’s glamorous charm.
7. iSpring RCC7AK Under-Sink Filtration System
The installation isn’t for the faint of heart. While the installation process is simple, it requires some tools and time. The filter comes with a stylish dedicated faucet that sits next to your tap faucet, which means you’ll have to drill a hole in your countertop to accommodate it. This option may not be viable for renters.
The reverse osmosis process takes six stages in the iSpring, and each phase has its own filter. Each phase’s filter needs to be replaced at a different interval, but the highest-frequency stage only has to be replaced every six months. If you can make changes to your countertop and don’t mind a more intensive maintenance obligation, the iSpring is an excellent choice.
8. WINGSOL Faucet Water Filter
With a one-piece housing made out of 3mm-thick stainless steel, the unit is very unlikely to crack, leak, or rust. While the WINGSOL is easy to attach, confirm that it’ll fit onto your faucet before you purchase one.
With a replaceable filter that only needs to be changed every six months, this attractive faucet water filter is pretty low-maintenance too.
9. Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter System
The same rule applies to every faucet attachment filtration system: double-check that the attachment will fit onto your existing faucet. If your faucet isn’t the standard size, you may have to purchase an adapter. Luckily, Brita provides a few commonly-needed adapters, and their customer service line is always available to provide installation tips.
The Brita offers an easy, no-tools-required installation and a relatively low maintenance obligation. The filter needs to be replaced every four months, but the filters are affordable and accessible. For an apartment water filter, it’s hard to go wrong with the Brita.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line water filtration system, look no further than reverse osmosis technology. Commonly used to filter water for delicate aquarium systems, reverse osmosis has become a popular filtration method for drinking water as well.
While it’s hard to strike a balance between under-sink availability, price, and ease of installation when exploring reverse osmosis water filtration systems for apartment life, one option may just have the versatility to practically integrate reverse osmosis technology into your apartment.
10. Oceanic RO HYDRO-PAL Compact Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System
While most reverse osmosis filtration systems require a tank for recycling wastewater, the Ocean doesn’t need one, making it more likely that the unit will fit under your sink. Installation isn’t as straightforward as a traditional under-sink unit, but the average person can get the Oceanic up and running in no time.
While most of its competitors harness at least a six-stage filtration process, the Oceanic only uses three stages, reducing the cost and the maintenance requirements. The unit is on the low end of the price spectrum for reverse osmosis systems at $64.99.
Like the iSpring, each stage in the filtration process uses its own filter, and these must be changed at varying intervals depending on the phase. The filter that needs to be changed most frequently requires a replacement every six months.
While it’s not as sophisticated as some of the other reverse osmosis filters on the market, its compact size, low price, and easy installation make the Oceanic an excellent choice for apartment life.
Types of Apartment Water Filter
It’ll be hard to evaluate which product will serve you best as an apartment water filter if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Let’s explore the two most common types of water filtration.
Traditional water filtration relies on gravity—old dependable—to pass water through a filter, but reverse osmosis takes a slightly more technical approach.
Traditional water filtration is pretty straightforward. In a traditional filter system, water passes through a porous (or semipermeable) membrane. This membrane can contain a variety of compounds, and dissolved solids in the water stick to or absorb into these compounds, preventing them from passing through the membrane.
Once the water has passed through the semipermeable membrane, the number of total dissolved solids (TDS) decreases. But, different compounds absorb different solids, so commercially available water filters generally vary in which compounds they use for filtration.
Traditional filtration depends upon a critical physical phenomenon associated with liquids: osmosis. During regular osmosis, a liquid moves across a membrane, from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. In layman’s terms: water wants to be where water already is. So, it’ll move in the direction it needs to get there.
So, traditional water filtration relies upon osmosis and gravity to move liquid across a filter’s membrane. Reverse osmosis, however, kicks this process up a notch.
In reverse osmosis, traditional osmosis is, well, reversed. Instead of relying upon osmotic pressure (the tendency for water to move to an area with existing water), additional pressure is applied to the area where water is already located, pushing the water across a semipermeable membrane in a reverse direction.
It’s a little complicated, but ultimately, reverse osmosis filtration allows water to be forced through less porous membranes, resulting in filtered water with lower total dissolved solids. Reverse osmosis is highly effective at filtering protozoa, bacteria, viruses, and chemical contaminants from drinking water.
You may be thinking, “Why wouldn’t I spring for a reverse osmosis water filtration system for my apartment water filter?” As you’ll discover below, reverse osmosis systems can be quite cost-prohibitive, take up a lot of under-sink space, and require more maintenance than traditional systems. And, some areas have such high water quality that the precision of reverse osmosis filtration (and the expense) is unnecessary.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which filtration system is right for you. But, in terms of the overall best water filter for apartment living, the clear winner may surprise you.
In the search for the best water filter for apartment life, there’s a clear champion: the CuZN UC-200 really does have something for everyone. But, if it doesn’t tick all of your boxes, any of the options on this list would make an excellent apartment water filter.
Remember to evaluate your space needs, your ability to make changes to your plumbing and fixtures (if you’re a renter), and your ability to commit to a maintenance schedule before choosing a water filtration system for your apartment. But, once you have a grasp of your parameters, it’s up to you to decide which water filter is the best for you.