If you have ever had a sip of water from the tap and poured it down the sink, you know what bad water tastes like. The same goes for a bottle of water that tastes like the plastic it was sold in. Today’s homes are now much more valuable when they have some kind of water filter appliance. While water filters used to be more expensive, there are new ways to get clean drinking water at home, particularly if you choose the best countertop water filter. These are handy water filter appliances that 99% of all contaminants in your drinking water, and they’re extremely sought after by those who want healthier and more affordable water resources.
So what should you look for in a countertop water filter?
Read the Countertop Water Filter Buyer’s Guide
Since the early 2000s, water filtration at home has risen in popularity. Most homes have a refrigerator or faucet with the best countertop water filtration system, but these aren’t always enough to get out every contaminant. In fact, countertop filters were created to offer convenience and more filtration options for those who didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on complex water filtration systems. With these countertop water filter reviews below and buyer’s guide, you should be able to pick out the perfect system for your home.
Types of Water Filters
Water filters go by many names, and they all have something unique about their design. If only the problem with tap water was dirt, sediment, or rust, perhaps there would not be so many different types of water filtration. The best counter top water filter will have a multi-stage process and a smaller size to utilize space. However, there are chemicals, microscopic particles, and other organisms in drinking water that can only be filtered out with better systems.
These are a few of the water filters available on the market now:
These are by far the most convenient water filter type. Known as counter top filters because they are used above the sink and typically as an appliance in the kitchen, these may also be called sinktop water filters.
Some types of countertop or sinktop water filters, and other names they go by, include:
- Countertop or sinktop water filtration appliances
- Water filter pitchers
- Filter dispenser
- Water ionizer
All of these water filters have the same thing in common. They use water from your tap, but they are not necessarily connected to any water lines. You can simply attach your faucet to a countertop purifier appliance or pour water into a pitcher.
However, the filters inside of these systems are also typically the same as what you find in under sink water filters and refrigerator water filtration systems. Some use carbon water filters while others use reverse osmosis.
Carbon Water Filters
These are the most common type of water filtration system. These appliances or under sink filters use filter cartridges that contain activated carbon. If you have water that looks discolored, tastes funny, or smells bad, then these filters can easily improve the quality of your water. They remove pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, radon, trihalomethanes, and some petrol chemicals as well.
There are also some carbon filter systems that can filter out a small amount of lead. For example, pre-coat and solid block filters are able to filter out and block lead. If this is available with your filter, you will see its certification in the specifications for the product.
There are some things that aren’t filtered out by activated carbon. These include nitrites, salts, nitrates, and some metals. If you want to remove organisms from your water, you may want to look into reverse osmosis filters, as carbon filters actually trap contaminants. This is why they have to be replaced more often.
How effective a carbon filter depends on the amount of activated carbon inside of the cartridge. While there are low-cost carbon filters, these likely aren’t as effective as filters that have a multi-step system of filtration involving multiple activated carbon filters.
These water filtration systems typically have one carbon filter that attaches to a casing, which can then be attached directly to your faucet. You simply use it by turning on the filter when you need clean drinking water. It works well but requires more cleaning, and typically, you’ll need to change the filters out more regularly.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
For those who want the ultimate filtration, a reverse osmosis system is your best bet. These water filters are able to remove inorganic materials like metals, lead, minerals, nitrates, salts, asbestos, and other chemicals.
Most of the time these filters also come activated carbon filters to pre-treat the water to catch all of the herbicides, pesticides, and sediment. Reverse osmosis filters come next within these systems, removing lead and finite chemicals. You will likely still need to change out the additional carbon filters for multi-step water purification.
Most reverse osmosis filtration systems are only available with under sink water filters because they have to be attached directly to the water line. There is a small tank that stores clean water until you need it, while filtered water is connected to the trap line in your sink. Drinking water goes through a special spout, and there’s an automatic valve that helps to eliminate any waste from the reverse osmosis filter.
These systems are generally more expensive and require assembly, as well as installation. You will spend some time carving out space under your sink to fit one of these systems.
Refrigerator Water Filters
If you have ever bought a refrigerator with a water dispenser, then it probably has a filtration system. These water filters typically use an activated carbon cartridge that you can replace inside of the fridge. These water filters are connected to the water line that hooks up to your refrigerator, and you only ever have to worry about replacing the water filter inside the fridge.
You typically need to replace the filter every 3 months depending on how much you use your fridge’s water dispenser. When you first replace these filters, loose carbon particles need to be flushed out by running the water through the filter. Once you don’t see any black particles in your water, you are ready to use your fridge’s water dispenser correctly.
Under Sink Water Filters
When you install a water filtration system at home, under sink water filtration systems come to mind. Homeowners typically install these systems under the kitchen sink with a second spout that has to come up through your countertops. These are larger filtration systems that maybe use carbon filtering, reverse osmosis, or a combination of both.
With reverse osmosis systems, you’ll be dealing with a few issues. For one, you’ll need to assemble the unit and mount it underneath the cabinet. You’ll also need to hook up the water line directly. The most surprising part is that most of these systems have a separate spout, which means that you’ll need to carve out a hole in your countertops so you can set up the separate sprout.
These aren’t necessarily the same as water filters, but they are sometimes confused with countertop filters because of their design. A water distiller is a countertop appliance that rids waters of salts, asbestos, metals, minerals, particles, and most organic chemicals through distillation. This is a process where the distiller heats up water until it turns into steam, and then clean water is left to use for drinking.
There is a significant difference between the cleanliness of water with distillers and filtration. Distillation isn’t able to remove all of the pollutants and organic bacteria from water. It also may take a few hours to generate one gallon of drinking water.
The process with countertop filtration using carbon filters is almost instant, allowing you to drink water within seconds after it goes through the filter.
Attributed to the brand known as Berkey, these are some of the best countertop water filter system appliances that use water filtration through chambers and require no manual or electric pump to filter out the water. Instead, the chambers purify the water through gravity alone. The water passes from the top chamber to the bottom one, going through a series of filters to purify and remove contaminants.
These filters work to get out almost all chemicals in your water, including fluoride, lead, and other heavy metals without any additional setup requirements for your water line or otherwise.
How Do Countertop Water Filters Work?
The main purpose of a traditional counter top filter is to filter out tap water. You can set up a counter top water filter next to your kitchen faucet. These types of filtration systems use carbon or reverse osmosis filtration to provide clean water right through a dispenser. They are typically smaller than other filter systems, but they do take up about ½ to 1 foot of space on your countertop.
There are those who also count water filter pitchers or pitcher dispensers as countertop water filtration, too. However, there is a big difference here. Pitchers must be filled manually, whereas a traditional countertop water filter attaches to the faucet directly. You simply turn on the faucet and dispense clean water through the water filter’s spout.
Why Use a Countertop Water Filter?
The main benefits of using the best countertop water filters include low-cost convenience and instantly clean water. While some prefer to have under sink filters or water pitchers, the big difference is that these filters are faster and provide just as much filtration as a built-in under sink filter. They also offer more filtration than a water pitcher or faucet filter.
The major drawback to using a countertop water purifiers is the space on the countertop. However, even if you have a small kitchen, you can find countertop water filtration systems that are made for your kitchen size. It can be as simple as a thin cylinder next to your kitchen faucet.
Countertop Filters vs. Water Filters (Various)
Some of the differences have already been mentioned with the best counter water filter, but here are some of the clear ways that put the best water filter countertop filters above other popular types.
Countertop vs. Under Sink Water Filters
The main problem with an under sink filter is that you have to spend hours to assemble and install it underneath the sink. If you don’t have a carpenter or plumbing skills, you may be bummed out to find that these systems require you to hook up a water line and cut a hole in your countertop for an additional water spout.
While there are some that hook directly to the water line in your faucet, it can be difficult for these to get hot water out of the faucet when you need it. A table top water filter has the same issue if it doesn’t come with a hot water dispenser.
Countertop Filters vs. Water Filter Pitchers
Pitchers are pretty affordable at first. They cost less than $20 in some cases, and you can buy the cartridges for $18 to $40 when they need to be replaced. Just like with countertop filters, you’ll buy the unit and still need to replace AC cartridges as well. However, pitchers typically have smaller filters, which require them to be replenished every other month or sooner depending on how often you fill up the pitcher.
Even if you buy a larger pitcher, you will still have to fill the pitcher up manually whenever you want a drink. This means that you could be waiting to drink water if you don’t fill up the pitcher when it’s all gone. While it seems more affordable and accessible, it’s really a slower countertop water filtration system that costs more in the long run.
Countertop Filters vs. Water Distillers
You simply wouldn’t want to purchase a water distiller with the current state of drinking water purification. While you won’t have to buy carbon cartridges for water distillers, you also won’t be getting the same level of purification, which is the whole reason for purchasing a water filter in the first place.
Not to mention, you will likely spend the majority of your time waiting for the water distiller to heat up and condense so that you can have clean drinking water. That’s a lot of effort to drink water that isn’t free of microscopic chemicals and lead.
Countertop Filters vs. Refrigerator with Water Filtration
If you are able to spend hundreds of dollars on a refrigerator with carbon or reverse osmosis filtration, then you have a very convenient clean water dispenser and likely don’t need a countertop purifier unless you want to have purified water from every faucet in your home.
It’s likely that your drinking water won’t be as clean as an activated carbon countertop purifier or a reverse osmosis water filtration system, however. That’s because these systems are designed with multiple filters and water cleansing processes that are probably too expensive to include in your average refrigerator.
Best Features for Countertop Water Filters and What to Look For
When you’re shopping for a countertop system, there will be several types that pop up, and they all look different. Some look like tall cylinders with water spouts, and others are wall mounted and hook up to your faucet. The most traditional countertop purifier will always be the most convenient and easy to use.
These features fit the profile of our choice for a countertop purifier:
- Small Size: You typically want a countertop purifier that is under 7” x 7” in length and wide. These can fit in most kitchens and offer advanced water filtration.
- Long Filter Capacity: Filters that can provide up to 1,500 gallons of clean water or up to 6 months or more of filter duration are great for affordability and consistency.
- Certifications: If a water filter is able to filter out lead, it will have special certification. You should look for NSF and Gold Seal Association Certified on the label.
- Multi-Step Filtration: Smaller systems typically will only have carbon filters, but proper filtration has multiple steps coming from activated carbon and reverse osmosis processing.
Best Countertop Water Filter Reviews
There are some genuinely incredible countertop purifier products on the market now. These are affordable, convenient, and highly cleansing water filters that hook up directly to your kitchen faucets. Our review selections come from highly rated and trending products on the market currently.
Berkey is one of the top companies in water filtration currently. Their line includes a model of gravity water filters called the Big Berkey, the Travel, and the Imperial. These are some of the most simple and low-cost ways to have top-notch water filtration technology in your home. They require no installation or electrical hookups, while also providing portability and a pretty easy setup.
This unit measures 18 inches in height and has a 7.5-inch circumference. It has two filter elements that hold 1 ½ gallons of water per hour. However, those conditions are with optimal water flow. The biggest benefit of this system is that it’s lightweight and can travel with you, allowing you to filter and purify water in a hotel room on a business trip or other instance. This is probably the most popular gravity filter currently.
The Big Berkey is a filter that you would keep at home, measuring 19.25 inches in height with an 8.5-inch circumference. While it does take up some space on your countertop, you have plenty of water for drinking and cooking throughout the door. However, it’s not as portable, so you will need to place it in an area that won’t block other aspects of your kitchen, such as opening cabinets.
This is a gravity water filter on a much larger scale. However, it’s not as large as the Crown Berkey, which can serve up to 26 gallons per hour. This is the biggest water filter from the Berkey brand, and it’s designed to filter enough water for up to 75 people. This is the ideal water filter for businesses, community functions, church groups, schools, and other group events. For the needs of big groups, the Imperial is a perfect choice because of its simple setup that can travel with a catering company or sporting event promoter. These situations are ideal, as you likely wouldn’t need to have this system at home. It can produce up to 16 ½ gallons of filtered water each hour and can hold 4.5 gallons of water on its own. The Imperial also stands 27 inches in height and has a diameter of 10 inches.
Berkey also creates the Berkey Light, Royal Berkey, Crown Berkey, and Berkey shower. These use the same filtration, but they range in size and gallon servings per hour.
- Stainless steel construction
- Portability and ease-of-use (The Travel Berkey and Berkey Light)
- No plumbing installation necessary
- Easy to clean
- No electricity needed
- No pump needed
- Must be manually filled with water in some cases
- Takes up a lot of countertop space in some models (Imperial and Crown mostly)
Bawell has a range of alkaline water purifiers that don’t have a big price tag and filter out much of the contaminants found in drinking water in the US. The Bawell Platinum Alkaline Water Ionizer Machine has a unique design that easily fits into most stainless steel kitchens, and it has an LCD control panel that makes it easier to use than other countertop filters.
The main benefit of this ionizer is that it has 7 titanium platinum coated plates that ionize water, purifying it for drinking and cooking. These plates are made of medical grade titanium, so they offer a powerful dual international filtration process that goes through three stages.
While the filtration is amazing with this ionizer, it does require some installation. You may hook it up to your faucet or water line, which will add to the convenience of using it continuously. The system uses multiple stages to create alkaline water that has a PH range of 2.0 to 12.0 ORP, which you can specify using the LCD control panel.
- Minimal water filter changes, holds up to 5,000 liters on average
- Creates filtered alkaline or acidic water (cleaning purposes)
- Continuous, instant filtration
- Connects directly to a faucet
- Takes up considerable countertop space
- The design may not work for those who have a very sleek kitchen
- Customers complained of burning smell if water runs for a long time
- Clunky, boxy design
Water distillers can offer benefits for those who want to purify water without the need to buy filters. It’s also better if you own aquariums to use this kind of filtration. When tested, this Megahome countertop water distiller was able to filter out some inorganic and organic contaminants, such as sediment, rust, petrol, chlorine, and some petrol chemicals.
The Megahome countertop purifier is made from stainless steel and has an enamel coating on the outside, which allows for a durable, home-focused design. The nozzle is glass, and it holds one gallon of water. While you will need to fill it with water manually, it’s a great way to keep clean drinking water available.
This distiller works pretty fast and destroys most chemical toxins. It has two chambers, one that collects clean water while the other stores the toxins. You can easily clean out the boiling chamber and use the clean water left behind.
- Takes up less counter space than traditional countertop filters
- Remove most contaminants and petrol chemicals
- More long-term affordability since you don’t have to buy AC cartridges
- Doesn’t filter out all contaminants like active carbon or reverse osmosis filters
We like that the Apex countertop purifier can remove almost 99% of all the chemicals and contaminants in drinking water. It’s been certified to remove fluoride, parasites, bacteria, chlorine, arsenic, and a number of other harmful minerals and hard metals like lead. You can also add minerals to make it more alkaline if you like your water to be a certain pH.
The single filter in this water filter can clean 750 gallons of water. This is an average size for a water filter, but we like that it’s small and easy to clean. When you place it next to the faucet, it also looks like it belongs there as an additional, sleek spout.
- Great design, small use of countertop space
- Controls alkalinity in your water
- Filters out 99% of contaminants including lead and chlorine
- Only filters out 750 gallons per filter
- Tall canister design so be careful of cabinet doors
For those who love alkaline water, the Air Water Life Aqua Ionizer Deluxe is one of the top products on the market currently. This is a top-selling unit with a pH level range that goes from 3.0 to 11.5. You can create alkaline or acidic water, depending on the use for it. You may want to create cleaning agents using acidic water, which makes this a perfect countertop tool in your kitchen if so.
The filtration system has a top-notch oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) using carbon water filters that filter out 4,000 liters each. It reduces trace lead amounts and removes tons of different chemicals, such as chlorine, fluoride, and petrol-based agents. There are also seven different settings to adjust the alkalinity automatically.
While the design feels very tech-based, we can see how you would set this up to the kitchen faucet and use it to create delicious drinking water continuously, particularly if you wanted the ultimate drinking water to soothe upset stomachs using alkalinity.
- Perfect alkaline settings for any situation
- High ORP and water efficiency
- Easy to use LCD panel
- Removes 99% of all contaminants with alkaline plates and carbon filters
- Bulky, clunky design
- A customer showed that this system should be installed by P.I.P.E. contractor or else the warranty is voided
The APEC RO-CTOP is one of the top reverse osmosis water filtration systems, and it has the unique feature of being a countertop RO system. This filter has a four-stage filtration process that provides ultra-clean drinking and cooking water. While a lot of water purification systems for countertops only have two to three stages using activated carbon filters, this RO-CTOP adds a reverse osmosis membrane that lets you use the same filters for two to three years.
Since this is a portable RO water filter, it doesn’t work with some faucets due to the attachment. Essentially, you can hook this up to an average-sized faucet, but it won’t work with special designer faucets or sprayer spouts. This is the perfect countertop system for travelers, apartments, and those who want very clean water for a fraction of the price.
- A highly-rated four-stage purification system
- The top, portable RO filter system on the market
- Works with most faucets
- Bulky design
- Looks out of place on a kitchen countertop without the casing, which costs extra
The Home Master Sinktop faucet filter works to remove most of the contaminants in your drinking water, and it has a smaller, more blendable design than others on this best countertop water filter list. For one, this model has been shown to remove 99% of all contaminants including the big ones like chlorine, fluoride, and some heavy minerals.
The filter’s design is probably the best part. When you want something sleek and beautiful in your kitchen, this is the water filter to go with. You can set it up right next to your sink, and it will provide purified drinking water fast. It’s also suitable for travelers.
- Very portable and sleek design
- Removes 99% of all contaminants
- 1500 gallon filter
- Easy to hook up and use
- Customers noted filters were difficult to replace
iSpring currently has one of the top whole house filtration systems on the market. However, their iSpring CKC1C countertop filtration system is much different. These are not designed as well as other stainless steel countertop systems because the casing is made from plastic. While that’s not technically an issue because the inside of the filter is made from a micron carbon block cartridge system, it doesn’t fit every kitchen’s needs.
However, it does remove 95% of all contaminants and is NS/ANSI certified. It can remove all odors, herbicides, pesticides, industrial chemicals, sand, silt, sediment, rust, chlorine, and petrol chemicals from your water. While it is designed to take up minimal countertop space, the height of the water filter can get in the way of some cabinets.
The best thing about this is that it’s small and uses 10-inch CTO cartridges with two sizes of faucet adapters. There’s no water line installation, and it’s easy to clean.
- Filters out 95% of contaminants
- Clear housing
- Easy to clean
- Uses CTO cartridges
- NSF/ANSI certified
- The casing is quite cheap and made of plastic
- Tall design that gets in the way of cabinets occasionally
AquaTru is designed to sit on the countertop like a water fountain, but it’s an incredible water purifier due to its reverse osmosis process. The system includes four stages that remove 78 contaminants and is certified by the EPA. These include things like fluoride, chromium 6, and trace amounts of lead. It is also certified to remove 10 times more contaminants than your average water filter pitcher.
You don’t need to install anything to get this system up and working. You simply plug it in, pour in water, and the machine moves it through the four-stage process. You can use the spout to fill your water bottle or you can move the tank to the fridge for refrigeration.
Overall, it’s not the most convenient filtration system if you want continuously available water, but it does taste extremely clean and refreshing. It’s also pretty lightweight and portable.
- Portable, no installation design
- Uses four-stage reverse osmosis process
- Removable dispensary tank
- Requires you to manually fill it, which takes time
- Not refrigerated unless the tank is removed from the machine
Brita has made a name for itself by creating easy-to-use water filter pitchers and faucet filter systems. The Ultra Max Dispenser is a much larger design that can hold 1.13 gallons of water. The dispenser is quite large and sits on the countertop, dispensing about 18 cups when the tank is full. This is a BPA long-last filter system that reduces 99% of contaminants, including lead, chlorine, cadmium, mercury, benzene, asbestos, and other petrol chemicals that can be found in drinking water.
While it’s not a continuous dispenser such as if it was hooked onto the faucet, you can get great tasting water using this filtration system. There are some inconveniences, and you will have to wait for the tank to fill up. You may also want to refrigerate the tank, but it’s difficult and bulky to remove the tank to do so.
- Incredible filtration quality, removes 99% of chemicals
- Easy, no-installation design
- LCD indicators for replacement filter reminders
- Requires you to purchase filters every 3 to 6 months
- Takes up considerable countertop space
- Bulky and difficult to move to refrigerator
The Waterdrop is a 320-gallon water faucet filtration system that hooks right onto your kitchen faucet. Unlike the other multi-stage filtration systems, this one uses an ACF filter that removes most contaminants. However, the design is definitely for your traditional faucet, so if you have a fancy special spout, you won’t be able to use this faucet filter.
The filter is easy to attach and works great to provide clean water. While we weren’t satisfied with the taste in comparison to some others on this list, it is very convenient and better than your typical tap water.
- Better than water filter pitchers
- Removes fluoride and some other chemicals
- Easy to set up and use
- Customers tested the water and showed chlorine was not removed
- Customers complained that the filter broke within 30 days
When you want the top-of-the-line faucet filter, there’s no better choice than the Premier Faucet Water filter from Dupont. It has a high customer satisfaction rating, and it’s easy to install. The 100-gallon filter capacity is a bit of a drawback, as you’ll need to change filters every two months. The filter reduces or removes most contaminants in your water, receiving certifications for the removal of bacteria, micro-organisms, cysts, chlorine, and sediment.
We liked how easy it was to set up DuPont, and the stainless steel finish goes along nicely with most faucets. The water definitely tasted better after this faucet filter was installed; however, it didn’t pass the lead test, and it isn’t NSF certified.
- Filters out chlorine, benzene, mercury, asbestos
- Quick installation and setup
- Low filter capacity, requires changing every two months
Best Countertop Water Filter: Verdict
After reading through the countertop water purifier reviews, we hope that you found useful information to find the best system for your home. While there are a ton of different countertop filters that we like and found worked well to reduce contaminants, the one that stands out the most is the Travel Berkey. We think that this countertop filter system has it all and lets you drink purified water consistently, wherever you need to go.