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Water Filter Pitchers: How Do They Work?

Water filter pitchers are versatile filtration systems used to purify drinking water. Basically, a water filter pitcher is a vessel (or carafe) equipped with a filtering mechanism. Water filter pitchers reduce the number of contaminants that come from the old plumbing systems in the houses or faulty filtering systems. Although a water filter pitcher does not remove all pollutants, used in conjunction with other purifying systems, it can filter out chemicals, microorganisms, and organic compounds.

Lightweight and easy to handle, water filter pitchers can go in a fridge. The drinking water will be cool and tasty, free of any smell. Depending on how many filtration media layers are used and how a water filter works, the whole filtration process of a water filter pitcher might take longer than other purifiers. Nevertheless, a water filter pitcher remains a cost-effective solution.  

What are Water Filter Pitchers?

things to know about water filter pitchersWater filter pitchers have been available on the market since 1970 when Heinz Hankammer launched the first water filter carafe and patented it. Hankammer looked for a solution to improve the quality of tap water. Thus, he used a funnel placed in a vessel. The filtering system envisioned by Hankammer used an ion exchange resin and active carbon to improve the water smell and taste while the limescale was also reduced.

Today, most water filter pitchers for homes are made of plastic, a durable and cost-effective material. The most common filtration media of a water filter pitcher is activated carbon. A simple water filter pitcher consists of two main components: the top vessel that houses the filter and a bottom carafe that collects and stores the filtered water.

Due to the working principle of a water filter pitcher, the pollutant molecules are trapped inside the activated charcoal’s pores via the adsorption process, allowing clean water flow. However, activated carbon only does not remove all contaminants, so an alternative purifying system should be used along with the water filter pitcher.

Reverse osmosis and distillation units are more effective water filtration systems than water filter pitchers but they are also more expensive and more complex solutions for purifying drinking water. Some manufacturers included ion exchange resins in the water filter pitchers’ filtration media to remove hardness.

A simple check of the NSF/ANSI certification can tell the consumer what contaminants a water filter pitcher can remove. Most water filter pitchers include NSF/ANSI 53 filters, meaning they can remove harmful impurities such as volatile organic compounds, lead, chromium, and Cryptosporidium.

How Does a Water Filter Pitcher Work?

Water filter pitchers work based on the adsorption process, using an activated carbon filter media. This filtering media attracts contaminant molecules that adhere to the carbon. Simply put, the surface of the carbon acts like a sponge, absorbing pollutants while the tap water flows through it.

What Does a Water Filter Pitcher Remove?

Water filter pitchers remove contaminants such as metals (copper, lead, mercury, zinc, cadmium), chlorine and pesticides, and organic compounds that affect the taste and smell of water. Some manufacturers produce water filter pitchers that can remove viruses. These units use a nanofiltration process, meaning the filtration media used has a pores size of 0.001 microns. Water filter pitchers capable of removing viruses are NSF/ANSI 244 certified. Girardia and Cryptosporidium are removed using water filter pitchers that include both activated carbon and ion exchange resin media.

Can Filters Make Water Taste and Smell Better?

Yes, water filter pitchers can remove the bad smell and improve the drinking water taste. Chemicals such as chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, or zinc give water a metallic taste and smell like sewage. Water filter pitchers remove these compounds, so the tap water has a much better taste and odor.

Why are Water Filter Pitchers Beneficial?

The advantages of using a water filter pitcher are:

  • Effective filtration of common pollutants
  • Improved tap water quality (better taste and odor)
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Can be stored in the fridge
  • Cost-effective

Do Water Filter Pitchers Prevent Waste Water?

Yes, water filter pitchers prevent water wastage. All water passes through the filter and can be used for drinking or different cooking or washing applications. Anyone can prevent water wastage by using a reliable water filter that will remove harmful contaminants. The treated tap water can then be used for many applications, including plant watering.

Are Water Filter Pitchers Good for the Environment?

Yes, water filter pitchers are far less environmentally damaging. Moreover, they represent an excellent alternative to water bottles, thus helping to reduce plastic pollution. Most manufacturers have recycling programs aiming to collect the used filters, thus reusing the valuable materials in other products. Water filter pitchers are made from BPA and phthalate-free plastic, thus creating a lower carbon footprint.

Are Water Filter Pitchers Water Good for Health?

Yes, water filter pitchers have many benefits for health. Some of these health benefits are listed below:

  • Prevent lead, cadmium, and mercury poisoning
  • Prevent gastrointestinal diseases by removing microbial cysts
  • Prevent a series of diseases associated with chlorine and its byproducts consumption
  • Proper skin hydration
  • Filtered water supports the immune system and mental health function
  • Enhance nutrients absorption

Can Water Filter Pitchers Remove Fluoride?

Yes, water filter pitchers can remove fluoride. Water filter pitchers represent the cheapest solution for removing fluoride from tap water. However, not all water filter pitchers can reduce fluoride. The ones capable of doing that include a special type of activated carbon filter.

Although fluoride is added to drinking water to minimize tooth decay, some health risks are associated with the high dosage. Dental and skeletal fluorosis might produce irreversible damage to teeth and bones. Also, fluoride can negatively affect the thyroid by removing iodine from the gland.

What is the Cost of Water Pitchers?

The price of a water filter pitcher is between $20 to $300.  Water filter pitchers represent a cost-effective alternative to expensive water filtration systems and they are easy to maintain. The cost of replacement filters of water filter pitchers adds to the final bill about $7 – $15 every 4 or 6 months, depending on water quality.

What is the Water Filter Pitcher Brands?

The most famous and well-reputed brands that produce water filter pitchers are:

  • Brita: Present on the market since 1966, the German company shortly became one of the top residential water filtration producers. They are especially known for their high-quality, NSF-certified water filter pitchers.
  • PUR: This company has been around for 30 years and is famous for its faucet filters. However, the water filter pitchers they produce are among the few that received NSF certification for lead removal ability.
  • Zerowater: One of Brita’s most fierce competitors, Zerowater is popular for its affordable water filter pitchers, NSF-certified for lead and chromium removal.
  • Aquagear: The company has been on the market for 15 years, and it is well-known for the long-lasting but expensive water filter pitchers they produce. Capable of removing chlorine, lead, fluoride, and mercury, their water pitchers represent a good deal.
  • Lake Industries: The company operates in 97 countries worldwide and produces water filter pitchers with seven layers of filtration. However, their products do not come with certifications for their effectiveness.

Which Water Filter Pitcher Removes the Most Contaminants?

The best water filter pitchers are tested to remove most contaminants from the tap water. Some of the products that are guaranteed to remove a wide range of pollutants are listed below:

  • Clearly Filtered Water Purifier Pitcher: Using a combination of granular activated carbon and different proprietary filter media, this filter eliminates more than 230 contaminants. The manufacturer’s claim is backed by NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53, 244, and 401 obtained via independent laboratory testing.
  • Epic Water Filters’ Pitchers: These products have been NSF/ANSI certified to remove more than 200 harmful contaminants from the tap water. Units have been tested by EPA accredited laboratories against NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53, 401.
  • Aquagear Water Filter Pitchers: The Aquagear filter uses carbon activated combined with ion exchange resin to reduce or remove over 70 of the most common pollutants. NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53, 401, and 473 are met.

How Long Does It Take for the Water Filter Pitcher to Filter Water?

Typically, all water filter pitchers should take about 10 to 15 minutes to filter the water reservoir into the jug. Depending on the water quality, some water filter pitchers might have faster filtering times. Longer filtering times mean that the tap water has a high level of sediment.

What are the Water Filter Pitchers’ Products?

Water filter pitchers provide drinking water free of the most harmful contaminants. Also, they represent a good solution for obtaining alkaline water, with an increased pH and enriched with healthy minerals.

Which Water Filter Pitchers Should be Preferred?

important factor to choosing water filter pitcherSome of the best water filter pitchers are listed below:

1. ZeroWater ZP-010: This 10-cup water filter pitcher costs $45, and it boasts a sturdy design. The unit comes with a two-pack of replacement filters and a total dissolved (TDS) meter. Capable of removing up to 93% of TDS, the ZP water filter pitcher purifies up to 40 gallons of water before needing filter replacement.

2. PUR PPT700W: One of the most affordable water filter pitchers ($17), the PUR product is smaller than other models but equally performant. The filter needs replacing every two months.

3. Brita Standard Everyday: BPA-free, this water pitcher comes with a long-lasting filter that requires replacing every 6 months. This product costs about $27 and is perfect for filtering high amounts of water.

4. Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher: This is one of the most expensive water filter pitchers ($69.95) but comes with a filter certified to remove a wide range of contaminants such as fluoride, chlorine, chromium, chloramines, mercury, or arsenic. It can filter 150 gallons of water before needing a replacement filter, meaning it will last about 5 or 6 months.

5. Brita Slim Water Filter Pitcher: Featuring a lightweight and ergonomic design, this small water filter pitcher is perfect for storing in the fridge door. It costs about $34 and includes an NSF-certified filter that can remove copper, mercury, and cadmium.

6. PUR CR1100CV: This water filter pitcher has a capacity of 11 cups and comes with an affordable price tag (about $30). Its filter is NSF-certified to reduce chlorine, zinc, some volatile organic compounds, and 99% of lead. Depending on the water quality, the filter will require replacing every two months.

7. Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher: With a high price tag ($85), this product is guaranteed to remove an average of 99.7% of 232+ contaminants, including lead, fluoride, BPA, PFOAs, hormones, and many more. The filter requires removing every 4 months and has a filtration rate of 15 minutes. Made of 100% BPA-free plastic, this water filter pitcher returns a great value for money.

8. Epic Nano Water Filter Pitcher: Costing about $55, the Epic Nano water filter pitcher is made of 100% BPA-free plastic, and it is 100% recyclable. Its filters are NSF-certified to remove 99.9% of over 200 contaminants, including lead, fluoride, bacteria, and viruses. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.

9. Proone Water filter Pitcher: Famous for its fluoride reduction capability, the Proone water pitcher also reduces 200+ contaminants such as lead, heavy metals, pesticides, or pharmaceuticals. It costs about $70 and also includes a fruit infusion container.

10. Lake Industries Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher: This water filter pitcher is an affordable (about $40) solution to obtain alkaline water. Its filter removes most of the usual contaminants, and the replacement does not cost too much.

How to Buy Water Filter Pitchers

When buying a water filter pitcher, some factors must be taken into consideration:

  • Targeted Contaminants: A good indicator of the filter quality is whether it is certified against NSF/ANSI standards. These standards measure the filter’s ability to remove certain pollutants. Most water filter pitchers are designed to improve the water’s taste and odor. These units are usually NSF/ANSI 42 certified. However, people are looking for water pitchers that can remove harmful contaminants such as heavy metals. In this case, a water filter pitcher NSF/ANSI 53 certified is a better solution.
  • Filter Lifespan: A filter’s lifespan depends on the quality of the water and the amount of filtered water per day. The best choice is a filter that lasts between two and six months. Using a filter longer than six months is not recommended as bacteria and moss tend to grow inside it and contaminate water.
  • Capacity: The capacity of the water filter pitcher depends on personal needs. A larger capacity means the water filter pitcher does not require frequent refilling. It also can be stored in the fridge to keep the water fresh and cool.
  • Materials used: Most water filter pitchers are made from plastic, a lightweight and affordable material. However, not all plastics are created equal. Low-quality plastic may leak harmful chemicals into the water. It is recommended to look for jugs made from BPA-free materials.
  • Maintenance: A good water filter pitcher has a sturdy and ergonomic design that allows easy cleaning. The jug, filter, lid, handle, and reservoirs should fit together tightly to prevent any leakage. A water filter pitcher requires cleaning at least once per week to prevent the growth of bacteria, algae, or mold. This is why a simple design should be chosen instead of a unit with complex details. 

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