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When you start drinking purified water, you never want to go back to tap water. Even when you cook, you can’t help but notice the difference when you use purified water to make your meal. There’s also the difference in quality when you shower with filtered water. Whether you are worried about the toxins in your home’s tap water or you want to upgrade your home’s value with the best whole house water filter, adding this type of water filtration is a smart choice for anyone concerned about quality and taste.
Buyer’s Guide to Best Whole House Water Filter
Before looking at our top picks for a house water filter, there are several factors to think about in preparation for installing your first filter. For instance, what hardware and installation tools are needed for whole home filter DIY? There are also a few benefits to having a filter installed in your home as well. In our whole house water filter review below, you’ll see some of the picks that match what we’re looking for in terms of quality, price, and installation.
All About Best Whole House Water Filter
With a whole house filter system, clean water is delivered to all areas of your home. While that means you can enjoy pure drinking water from every faucet, it also means that you can shower and cook with filtered water as well. There are also benefits for washing your clothes in chlorine-free water.
However, the best whole home filters also require proper installation. This means that you’ll need the right tools, pipes, and water source to have everything up and running efficiently.
Some common contaminants can be found in your home’s water system, including sediment or particles in your water. These chemicals can be removed with a carbon filter or reverse osmosis process.
These filters typically have a multiple stage filtration process that allows you to remove 99.9% of all toxins in the water, including things like chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, mercury, petrochemicals, and lead.
Match Up Your Home to the Water Filter
You’ll need to check a few specifications before you select a filter for your home. We detail these for you here:
Filter Size: With larger filters, you’ll need more water. The port size is also important as it will affect the pressure and gallons per minute (GPM). Most homes require a filter that is 4.5” by 20”, but if your home is much larger, then you’ll likely want to get a 25 GPM flow rate with a 1 ½” ports.
Flow Rate: The flow rate of your home is measured in GPM, and this number tells you how much water is available to run your kitchen sink, dishwasher, toilet, hot water heater, shower, washer machine, and more. You can look at the demand ratings on each of your appliances to determine a total flow rate. For example, your shower may have between a 2.5 and 6 GPM. Your toilet is likely a 5 GPM. Once you add all of these up, you’ll get a water flow rate between 15 and 45 GPM, depending on how much water flow you need.
Port Size: When looking at the port size of your home, then you probably want it to be around 1” in diameter. If your home uses three-fourths piping, then you’ll need a 1” ported system that will prevent any stoppages once you install the system. A 4.5” by 20” filter is best for a 1” port size.
Filter Life: While all filters vary in capacity, you want one that will last 100,000 to 150,000 gallons. Carbon filters with carbon beds have longer capacities, but this also works better with a normal backwash cycle and backwashing valve.
Where to Install the Filter
These filters are typically installed on the main water line that goes into your home so that you can have purified water from every single faucet. If you don’t have any experience working with water lines, then you may want to hire a plumber who can easily access and service your water filter when you need.
These filters are placed near the main shut-off valve and near the water heater. This also helps to increase the lifespan of your home’s water heater.
There’s also a difference for water softeners. People often ask if you should install a whole house filter before or after the section with softeners if you have one installed at home. With homes that are supplied through a municipality, then you would install before the softener.
If you have a well, then you can install after the softener to ensure that it has the right flow.
Your plumber may be the best to talk to about where to install and what’s right for your home, as some systems can also be installed outside in the garage or basement.
What’s Needed for Whole Home Filter Installation
If you do plan on installing the filter, then you’ll need some tools and parts to ensure that it gets done like a pro.
These are the parts needed to install a typical home water filtration system:
- Filtration system and all parts included
- Shut-off valve access
- Mounting brackets
- Fittings (push)
- Pressure gauges (optional)
- Bypass valves (optional)
Homeowners who want to install this water filter also need to have a few tools. While some of this may be overkill, it’s important to be prepared for any situation, particularly if you don’t have plumbing experience.
- Drill and drill bits
- Adjustable wrench
- Pipe cutter
- Solder supplies
Once you have all these tools, you’ll need to follow the instructions for your water filtration system, but first, you’ll shut off the main water supply and drain any water in your home by opening your faucets.
Benefits of Drinking Filtered Water at Home
Whether you are connected to a municipal water supply or a well located off to the side of your home, your water probably has some sediment and chemicals in it. Have you done a water test? This is an important step to do before you install the water system so you can see how many chemicals and toxins are removed with your new filter.
Almost all water today has some form of chlorine in it. While it may just be a trace, chlorine has been linked to some serious diseases, including Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. Carbon filter systems remove chlorine and a variety of other toxic chemicals.
Removes Bacteria and Contaminants
If you live in an area that is close to polluted streams and you don’t trust your tap water, you can instantly fix the problem with a whole house filter.
Eliminates Bad Taste or Odors
If you don’t want to drink your tap water, why would you shower or cook with it? Many studies have shown that water with a bad taste or odor likely contains multiple contaminants, including a high percentage of chlorine and lead.
Better to Wash Clothes With
Chlorine-free water is important for taking care of your clothes. Once you start washing with purified water, you’ll start to notice your fabrics seem brighter and don’t wear as much in the washer.
Remove Hard Water
Did you know that some water can dehydrate your skin and hair? If you have issues with poor water quality, then you could also be experiencing dermatological problems. Showering with filtered water could instantly improve any skin conditions caused by contaminated water.
Increases Home Value
New homeowners are actively looking for homes that already have a built-in water filtration system, ensuring that every faucet delivers clean water. These are standard in many housing markets across America so you could be increasing your home’s value considerably just by adding a low-cost whole home system.
Types of Whole House Filters
While there are two main types of modern filters, there are still some manufacturers who have higher-priced and more alkaline systems that have a different process. The most complex systems will have a combination of all five. These are detailed below:
Activated Carbon Filters
This is the most popular filtration system due to its simplicity and ease of use. Carbon filters are known for removing larger particles from water, but they may not be successful in removing chlorine and other microscopic contaminants. It will also improve the taste and odor.
Carbon filters can be found everywhere, and their filtration systems typically involve a quicker setup. However, they may not remove all contaminants as well as reverse osmosis.
Reverse Osmosis Process
To ensure the removal of 99.9% contaminants, homeowners prefer the reverse osmosis systems. These are multi-stage filtration systems that typically combine carbon filters with reverse osmosis membranes that can remove all potentially harmful toxins. However, it also removes all of the minerals too, making the water very acidic.
To make water more alkaline, which is anything over a pH of 7.0 and closer to 9.0, there are some filters that have an ionization process or a remineralization process after the filtration. This adds back valuable antioxidants and minerals. It also makes your water softer, which is important for showers.
Ultraviolet filters can treat water just as well as carbon filters, removing different types of bacteria that can cause diseases and problems after long-term use. In addition, it doesn’t add any more chemicals to the water to purify.
When you want to soften your water, then you can use ionizers or infrared filters. If your home is in an area notorious for hard water, then this will certainly help. This system uses light and heat to add negative charges to the water, softening it up for your shower or other use.
Features of High-Quality Home Water Filters
What makes the best water filter better than another? There are two main types of filters, and then there are those filtration systems that have additional filtration including UV or infrared. These are some of the features we like to see in the best water filtration system.
Three-Stage or Higher Filtration
Typically, there are two-stage processes that only use activated carbon filters. While these can lower fluoride and remove some bacteria, it doesn’t improve your water completely. For the cost, you should look into a higher multi-stage process that utilizes activated carbon and reverse osmosis water filtration.
You likely don’t want to do this on your own unless you have plumbing experience. Most manufacturers include an installation service anyway so that you don’t void your warranty. If your system doesn’t come with installation, then you’ll likely need to have a good customer service line or a plumber to help if anything goes wrong.
Filter Life / Capacity
With the top water filtration products, you’ll want to look at the types of filters it uses and how many gallons it’s rated for. The best filters typically last for over 120,000 gallons, and if you want the most elite filter, you can even purchase a 1,000,000-gallon type. This is enough for a few years without changing your filter.
Matches Flow Rate at Home
You definitely want to check your flow rate and water source type to ensure that it will work before spending the money on the filter.
UV Ray and Ionization
If you want to add minerals back into your water, you’ll want it to go through a remineralization or ionization process. There is also a UV ray add-on that allows you to process water with light and remove toxins.
In some parts of the country, there are other issues besides chlorine and fluoride. With a descaler, you can remove limescale and soften up hard water. It also keeps your pipes clean and free from corrosion.
The gallons-per-minute flow rate is based upon what you need for your home, so it depends on how many appliances you have that intend to use the water at once. Most water filters for the home have at least a 10 GPM, but if you want to service your home better or need a higher flow rate, then you want a system that can put out 20 GPM.
Most filtration systems provide all of the tools, including o rings and brackets to mount your system and get it installed correctly. However, other systems expect you to have your own tools or use their installation service. You should check customer ratings to see how easy it was to install.
Wells and Municipal Compatibility
Not all filtration systems work with wells, so if you need a specific type of system, you’ll have to check specifications first.
Easy Cartridge Change
You definitely want to find a unit that has an easy-to-use housing unit that won’t trip you up if you need to change the cartridges every year. You can look through customer reviews to find which ones are easiest to change out.
How long does the warranty last and what does it cover? A lifetime warranty is always best, but you’ll want to check what it covers. If you install it yourself, you could void the warranty yourself.
FAQs About Whole Home Filtration Systems
Will you need a plumber to install whole home water filters?
If you have no experience with any type of plumbing, then you may want to look at a few videos and follow instructions closely before attempting this process. You don’t necessarily need a plumber for the easy-to-install systems, but if it’s a multi-stage filter or a quartz filter, you may want a plumber to ensure that it’s professionally installed.
What’s the difference in price for whole home water filters?
The main difference is the amount of filtration and additional features such as UV ray sterilization or ionization. The highest quality filters will have a multi-stage process that takes water through activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and remineralization to provide the best taste and most alkaline water. You can read our whole house water filter review to see more specific details.
Best Whole House Water Filter Reviews
So it’s time to stop buying bottled water and opt for a more convenient whole home filter that will constantly deliver pure water to all of your outlets. It’s important to consider why you want the system and what contaminants you want to remove before purchasing a system. There are a variety of water test kits you can buy online to see what’s in your water.
These are some of the top water filtration systems for your home listed below in our best whole house water filter reviews section, rated by quality, customer satisfaction, water test results, installation, and filter capacity.
Aquasana has been gaining popularity due to the long life and high quality of its systems. They offer multiple types of systems that are designed to be easier on the homeowner who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time worrying about filter capacities or leftover sediment.
These are extremely high-quality filters with a multi-stage filtration process that reduces contaminants considerably, probably the most out of the ones that we have found.
The 6-year and 10-year filtration systems both have their benefits to larger homes. However, we prefer to go with a longer life span. This is one of the top whole home water filtration systems that we’ve seen. The 10-year filter system is also the highest capacity we have seen for this price point, which is lower than other competitors. There are also various add-ons to review, as each system can be upgraded.
Aquasana creates several types of whole home filters, starting with the 10-year filter basic system. You can upgrade and add-on a descaler. There are also more options for those who have a well in their backyard. For these homes, you’ll want to look at the 5-year well filter system with a descale and UV pack.
For each year, Aquasana is rated for 100,000 gallons. Yours may need to be changed sooner if you have a larger home with multiple residents.
Descaler and UV Versions
The descaler is necessary to keep the pipes clean and not corrode your water heater or well. If you have limescale buildup, then this add-on will certainly take care of it. There are three types of filtration systems with a descaler from Aquasana, including:
- 10-Year Water System and Descaler
- 10-Year Filter System with Descaler and UV
- 5-Year Well Filter System with Descaler and UV
Both of the 10-year systems work with most larger homes with a main water line or municipal line. The 5-year well system is a bit more expensive because it is customized for homes with a special flow rate. The main importance of the well water filter system is that it is rated to purify 500,000 gallons from a well, and it includes a professional installation kit. This is designed to help prevent well contamination as well. You can protect your home against specific bacteria, virus, and toxins that can multiply in older wells.
All of these systems use salt-free processing to make sure that no scale forms and keeps your plumbing from becoming rusty.
The UV filtration system sterilizes the water, killing 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, including chlorine-formed cysts like giardia. It’s important to test your water so that you can see what it removed.
Who Should Purchase Aquasana?
If you want the ultimate quality in your filtration system and need a long-term solution, lasting up to 10 years. It’s also a simple system to use that allows you easy access to change certain cartridges as well. One thing that you’ll need to purchase is the professional kit and ensure that it comes with the professional-grade materials. We were surprised to find that not all of the systems included this installation kit.
- Long-lasting filter, up to 1,000,000 gallons or 10 years
- Easy installation kit
- Multi-stage filtration with carbon and reverse osmosis technology
- UV and descaler necessary
- A bit expensive for additional filtration
- Installation kit not included with all systems
Known for its great value and affordable cost, the Express Water whole house water filters use a three-stage process that blocks out almost all contaminants. This includes charcoal, sediment, petrochemicals, and toxins. You’ll be able to get water from every faucet using this system, and it does improve the taste.
We also like that this system comes with a monitoring system so you can see the longevity of the filters. It was also easy to set up and easy to change cartridges. There’s a one-year warranty included and a free lifetime support number. We found that this system was well worth the cost, and it’s clear that customers love this system as it’s highly rated.
- The system works for well and municipal water systems
- Filters out 99.9% of chemicals and toxins
- A multi-stage process with carbon filters
- Long filter capacity
- Easy installation
- One customer complained of no installation help
Reverse Osmosis Revolution is a whole house filter that uses a two-stage process with ¾ inch valves. In the first part of the filtration system, you’ll filter out dirt, silt, sand, scale, rust, and dust. The second part of the filtration system is a modern Five Micron High Dirt Capacity CTO Block Filter. It also uses a traditional 10” by 2.5” cartridge and comes with a 10” housing.
For connections, you’ll need a 20 to 80 psi for water pressure, and it’s rated for a flow rate between 1 GPM to 10 GPM for a ¾” in and out, which is standard. However, the installation kit doesn’t include necessary O rings. You’ll need to purchase the gasket separately.
The carbon filter with the system does not work for all sediment, and you’ll need to purchase a higher quality carbon filter if you want to ensure that you remove sulfur and other chemicals.
The descaler will help to keep limescale and rust away from your system as well.
- Highly rated
- Multi-stage system
- Easy installation
- Includes descaler
- Removes 90% of contaminants
- Quality of whole house water filters could be better
- No alkaline or ionizer included
These Home Master 2-stage whole house water filtration systems use a two-stage process with a catalytic carbon filter that offers a higher level of filtration. This is a large filter with a 1” port for more water pressure, allowing for 10 gallons per minute.
With the two-stage process, your water goes through a sediment filter that reduces dirt from 25 micron to 1. It has a 95,000 capacity, which is a little bit low, but the water tastes and smells completely pure. It has a genuine purification system that removes almost all contaminants, including chlorine, chloramine, sediment, metals, and other toxins.
- Quite affordable
- 10 GPM flow rate
- High-level purification
- May require professional installation
- Only two-stage process
- No descaler
Home Master Whole House Three-Stage water filter is one step up from the two-stage filter by the same brand. This is a fine sediment filter that supplies a 1-inch port with the most water pressure available for any system at this price, up to 15 GPM. The multi-gradient sediment filter offers the most refinement for purified water, reducing sediment down to just 1 micron.
This filter also has a higher capacity than the two-stage filter with up to 100,000-gallon capacity. This is a coconut shell carbon filter that allows for one year of filtration. While it’s not as high as some of the others on this list, it’s easy to change out the filters and worth it for the low initial cost.
- Removes 95% of all toxins
- Uses three-stage process
- 1-inch ports and high flow rate of 15 GPM
- No warranty
- Low filter capacity (only 1 year compared to 3 to 10 for competitors)
Apex 3-Stage Whole House filtration system is one of the highest quality for the price. We like that Apex always uses high-quality materials, achieving the cleanest taste and zero odor. They also have an elaborate filtration process that uses a hydrogen sulfide filter and a coconut shell filter for activated carbon.
The best part about this filter is that the water maintains its pH level, so you don’t have very acidic water at the end of the process. The process media membrane removes almost all toxins, including chromium, nickel, mercury, lead, and metals.
Full installation instructions are included, and it’s NSF certified with a double carbon briquette filter that also removes organic particles, particularly volatile organic compounds.
- Gets up to 15 GPM
- 1-inch NPT in and out port
- Three-stage filtration system
- Removes 99% of contaminants
- Has a complex installation kit
Want something that gets the job done for the right price? The 3M Aqua-Pure Whole House water filter is quite affordable with non-corrosive stainless steel material. It uses a carbon filter media that removes chlorine and bad odors. It also has one of the highest flow rates with up to 20 GPM delivered right to your faucet.
You’ll probably want to add another filter to this system, which is even suggested by the manufacturer if you want higher filtration. While fluoride and chlorine are removed, you may want a stronger filter if you’re willing to spend a bit more.
- Very low cost
- Easy to install
- Uses only one filter
- The one-stage process not necessarily enough to remove lead and other toxins
DuPont is a top name brand for the home. Their water filters for the home have been praised for their simplicity. Their whole house system is actually just a one-stage filtration made to be cheap and easy to install. It uses a standard 10-inch activated carbon filter that removes most contaminants, except lead and arsenic.
It was hard to believe that a whole house filter was available for this price, but there is a catch. The housing is cheap, and it may not prevent corrosion. You’ll also need to change the water purification systems filter after 15,000 gallons. You can customize and create your own system if you are experienced with plumbing.
- Simple to install
- Very low cost
- Low filter capacity of 15,000 gallons
For those who want the best filtration with a decent GPM, the Ultraviolet Light Water Purifier whole house filter that has a 12 GPM. This is a whole house unit that sterilizes the water using only a UV sterilizer. While this can kill most bacteria, such as viruses, algae, and microbes, it does not filter out chlorine and fluoride as well.
It has a complete installation kit included that uses quartz glass tubes, extra ballasts, and UV bulbs. You will need to change the bulbs after one year. It uses a stainless steel unit with a ¾” standard in and out and a 36” UV lamp for a 55W 110V bulb.
We like how the water tastes after using this filter, but we were concerned that it won’t work the same with water that has higher chlorine counts. In addition, this system does work with well pumps and municipal water lines.
- Utilizes UV ray sterilization
- Up to 12 GPM
- Standard port size
- Works for all water source types including wells
- No filtration for contaminants like chlorine and fluoride
For those who want a multi-stage filter that reduces sediment and carbon, this filter works well and includes a 1” in and out using a 4.5” by 10” blue housing. There is a lot less water pressure loss with this filter, and it is able to filter out 95% of sediment, chlorine, TOCs, and VOCs. It has a 50,000-gallon capacity, meaning that you’ll need to change it twice for every year.
All tools and installation parts are included, making it easy for those who want to install on their own. The iSpring whole house water filter was able to reduce contaminants considerably, and water had a much better taste with absolutely zero odor after going through this system.
- Very affordable
- Two-stage system
- Up to 15 GPM
- Easy installation
- Short cartridge capacity compared to other systems
Great Add-On to Whole Home Filters
This is the perfect add-on to extend the filter capacity of the system. This is a sediment water filter that can reduce microns down to one, and it has a 20 GPM with an NPT and ¾” port size.
There are multiple sizes as well, including a product that filters up to 1000 microns. Made from high impact stainless steel, this see-through housing and double threads allow for extreme durability and easy to understand readings for when to change the filter.
Conclusion & Verdict for Water Filter System for Home
The right water filter for your home must match the flow rate and port size that you need. You also want to check PSI and ensure that the filtration will filter out the contaminants in your water. This is why it’s necessary to perform a water test before you install a new filter.
We have reviewed several whole house filtration systems, and the only one that truly gets out the most contaminants is by Aquasana. While this system is a top-of-the-line model, it’s worth the investment because it’s going to last longer and reduce the amount of time you spend changing filters.
If there are price concerns and you still want a high-quality system, then Apex may be the better one to go with. With multiple stages of filtration and descale, you can easily get purified water to every outlet in your home and not worry that your system will be corroded.
However, for those who want a lower cost system, then the iSpring is probably the best to go with. You’ll be able to filter out almost all toxins with this lower cost alternative.