Let’s face it; tap water isn’t the greatest. It often doesn’t taste great, smell great, or sometimes even look great. It may not be great for your health, either. Luckily, there are great ways to improve your tap water, even if you’re on a budget. Let’s take a look at two of these solutions and compare faucet filter vs. pitcher filter designs.
Why You Should Filter Your Water
You might be surprised to learn that 92% of the United States’ tap water is safe to drink, meaning a whopping 8% isn’t. What’s more, some measure of toxins is likely in your water, even if they are below government standards.
Let’s look at some of the common contaminants that might be lurking in your water supply.
The pipe systems that deliver water to our homes, and possibly in our homes themselves, contain lead. Lead is a dangerous heavy metal, and prolonged exposure can lead to a variety of health problems. Fortunately, a good quality water filter pitcher or faucet filter will eliminate this dangerous metal from your drinking water.
In addition to lead, industrial chemicals accumulate and persist in our water tables. PFAS, or polyfluorinated substances, bioaccumulate in plants, animals, and humans. Because so many animal and plant products already include some level of these toxins, it can be hard to limit your exposure.
High levels of PFAS can cause disruptions in your immune function, congenital disabilities, and cancer. The half-life of PFAS is 2-4 years, meaning it can take decades to flush from your system. Activated carbon filtration is a sure-fire way to reduce your intake of these chemicals.
E. Coli and other microorganisms live and breed in water. These bacteria are beyond the capabilities of the types of filters we’re discussing. That’s alright because municipal water systems use chlorine to kill and control these bacteria.
That leaves the consumer with drinkable water, but the process can leave your water with an unpleasant taste and odor. Fortunately, either the water filter pitcher or faucet filter will remove the chlorine and leave your water tasting and smelling great.
How Water Filters Work
Both water filter pitcher or faucet varieties use the same basic elements to filter your tap water. When considering your options, make sure your filter uses activated carbon, and a particulate filter.
Activated carbon’s chemical properties make it the ideal filter media. Harmful toxins are attracted to the carbon as the water passes through the filter. These contaminants bind to the carbon, which keeps them out of your water. The result is better tasting, better smelling water.
Particulate filters strain the water for sediments and other particles, including those from the activated carbon filter element. Filter elements can use organic materials, like coconut husks, to synthetic materials to construct these filters.
Particulate filters combined with activated carbon reduces contaminants in your water by up to 99%. It’s important to remember that not all filters are created equal. To make sure you are purchasing a high-quality filter, make sure your filter complies with NSF/ANSI standards 43 and 52.
Faucet Water Filters
Faucet filters, as the name implies, install directly on your existing fixture. Some faucets won’t accommodate a faucet filter. If yours doesn’t, a pitcher filter is your best option.
For standard faucets, the installation is straight-forward, only taking ten to fifteen minutes. Faucet filters use your home’s water pressure to force the water through the filter, which leads to filtering rates of around a half-gallon per minute.
These filters have a limited service life. Most faucet filters come equipped with visual indicators to let you know when they’re ready to be changed. We recommend paying a little extra for this feature. A filter gauge helps you plan and prevents you from changing your filter prematurely.
Typically, a faucet filter’s cartridge will last 40 gallons or about two months of regular use. Fortunately, they only cost about twenty dollars a pair, which means you should always have a backup.
With all of the faucet filters, the advantages come at a slightly higher cost. Still, if you have a compatible faucet, it’s hard to beat a good faucet filter.
- Fits on most existing faucets
- Water pressure assists in fast filtering
- Variety of finishes to match your decor
- Installation required
- Higher cost than pitcher filters
Pitcher filters use the same filtering elements as faucet filters. The method of delivery for the water as it passes through the filter is the key difference. In the case of pitcher filters, the answer is gravity.
Since Pitcher filters are gravity fed, filtering times are much longer than those for faucet filters. Once you fill your pitcher water filter, it’s best to wait and let it do its thing. That can sometimes mean up to fifteen minutes.
Filter as you pour models are now on the market, but you’ll want to pay particular attention to these modes. Typically, the faster a pitcher filter works, the less filtration is taking place.
Pitcher filters are less likely to include filter life gauge. That means you’ll often need to run by the calendar alone. Fortunately, there are many services available that will mail you filters on a subscription basis. Keep this in mind: you need to replace your filter earlier if you have hard or silty water.
When in doubt, change your water pitcher filter cartridge when you notice a slow down in filtering performance.
- Can be stored when not in use
- No installation or compatibility concerns
- You have the option of chilling your water
- Slower filtration rates
- Difficult to pour during the filtering process
- Less likely to have filter replacement gauge
How to Choose the Right Water Filter For You
Your ideal water filter will depend on your individual space and preferences.
Filter pitchers are the best choice if for filtered water with no installation considerations or compatibility concerns. Just pour water in the top and wait for it to fill the bottom section of the pitcher. There are no hassles here, except for the increased filtering time.
A faucet filter is the best choice for those with a compatible faucet and who don’t mind the extra device on the tap. Decreased filtering time, the ability to toggle between filtered and non-filtered water, and cartridge life indicators make faucet water filters the all-around best choice for those wanting better tasting, healthier water on a budget.
Whichever design you choose, you’ll enjoy healthier, fresher tasting water.