9 Best Countertop Filters for 2021 (and Why)

Last Updated - May 2020

According to the EPA, there are at least 80 common harmful contaminants in tap water, which are typically invisible. It’s imperative, then, to ensure that your drinking water is free of contaminants and safe to drink.

A countertop filter is affordable, compact and easy to install, making them an excellent option for a low-commitment, impermanent filtration system. These small devices are surprisingly effective at treating water, taking out contaminants and enhancing taste and smell.

Not all countertop filters are created equal, which is why scoured the web to pick out the 9 best Countertop Filters on the market. We’ve covered a range of countertop filter types with varying capacity, contaminant removal, design and size.  

9 best Countertop Filters on the market
$129.99
$179.99
7 new from $129.99
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm
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$69.51
2 used from $41.90
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$473.99
7 new from $473.98
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm
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Last updated on February 19, 2024 8:05 pm

Brondell H630 H2O+ Cypress Countertop Water Filter System

7 new from $129.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm

PROS:

  • 3-stage filtration
  • Patented Nanotrap filter
  • WQA tested to NSF/ANSI standards
  • Easy installation
  • Removes many bacteriological contaminants

CONS:

  • Customers report push button fragility

The Brondell H630 is our top choice for a countertop filter that ticks all the boxes. It stands out from the rest with its modern, futuristic design and effectiveness. The unit has been tested and certified by the WQA to meet NSF/ANSI standards, which is evidence of its quality.

The three-stage filtration system, with the patented nanotechnology filter, significantly reduces a range of contaminants, including microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. The filters are easy to replace with a long filter life of 6-12 months and installation is easy with a diverter tab that connects to the kitchen faucet.

The Brondell H630 produces clean, tasty water and at a low price per gallon. Overall, one of the best units on the market in terms of effectiveness, aesthetics and price.


AlcaPure Zero Installation Purifier Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter

4 new from $488.83
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm

PROS:

  • Purifies up to 75 gallons of water per day
  • BPA-free construction
  • Low energy usage
  • Zero installation
  • 99% contaminant removal

CONS:

  • Minor leakages – if proven defective, a replacement can be arranged

Finding a purifier that will help you achieve a healthier lifestyle, isn’t easy which is why you need to make sure that you choose one that’s worth its price. The AlcaPure Reverse Osmosis Water Filter is one of the best choices on the market that comes with patented high capacity filtration technology. It has a modern, elegant and compact design that can sit on any countertop and fits in well with almost any type of kitchen décor.  

The system works through 4 different stages of filtration. The water passes through a five-micron Sediment Filter, a coconut-based activated carbon block and finally a semipermeable reverse osmosis membrane which removes up to 99% of contaminants from your water leaving clean and delicious drinking water for you to enjoy.

A high-quality Alkaline Post Filter injects minerals such as magnesium and calcium into the water to increase its alkalinity. This purifier also uses OnliPure Post Filter containing special Ion Exchange Media which results in zero TDS (total dissolved solids). 

What we like about this purifier is that it’s very easy to install. All you need to do is place the unit on your countertop, plug in the AC adapter and flush out the filters by running 2 filtering cycles to clear out any factory residue that might remain.

It requires hardly any maintenance, but you will need to change the filters at least once a year. The AlcaPure comes with 2 plastic containers, water purification and storage which can be removed easily and washed with any dishwashing soap or liquid.


APEX EXPRT MR-2050 Dual Countertop Water filter

2 new from $114.95
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm

PROS:

  • Complies with NSF/ANSI standards
  • 99% contaminant removal
  • Produces alkaline water
  • Connects to most standard faucets
  • DIY installation

CONS:

  • The price – this water filter comes with a high-end price tag than other countertop water filters on the market

The APEX Dual Countertop water filter is an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and powerful filtration system that reduces up to 99% of harmful contaminants in your tap water. Its activated carbon filter removes asbestos, arsenic, chlorine and lead while also filtering out pathogens which are known to cause waterborne illnesses.

This system comes with a dual-filter setup and works through a five-stage process, making it one of the most comprehensive and thorough models on the market. The water is purified by use of a carbon block filter, then KDF-55 (copper zinc), granular activated carbon, alkaline beads and finally calcite. This five-stage process ultimately gives you delicious drinking water that you can enjoy with no foul odors or bad tastes.

One of the things we liked best about the APEX dual water filter is the simple installation and that it connects easily to most standard household kitchen faucets. All you have to do is remove the aerator screen from the faucet and screw on the APEX diverter valve and you’re good to go. Another advantage with this unit is that it has very low maintenance. You won’t need to clean the filters regularly, since a single filter purifies up to 750 gallons of water.

The APEX water filter system is perfect for anyone seeking a reliable source of delicious, purified drinking water. Although it’s rather pricey the quality, safety and value are definitely worth it.


CleanWater4less Countertop Water Filtration System

2 new from $70.00
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm

PROS:

  • Enhances water taste and odor
  • Impressive filtration capacity
  • Leak proof
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Easy Installation – about 15 minutes
  • Lightweight at 3.1lbs

CONS:

  • Best used only for city water. Not recommended for well water. 
  • Clog issue – the filters tend to clog easily in some units

For efficiency and affordability, the Clean Water 4 Less Countertop Water Filtration System is a safe bet.

This model performs 5 stages of filtration using GAC to filter out most of the sediments, bacteria, dangerous minerals and harmful chemicals are eliminated from your drinking water. It targets 97% of chlorine, significantly improving the taste and odor of the water.

The filtering capacity is impressive, at 10,000 gallons of water or 2 years, whichever comes first. When the system has reached the end of its life, simply replace the whole unit instead of replacing filters. Considering the cost is equivalent to a high-quality filter, it’s almost the same as purchasing new filters. 

A very portable and stylish filter, sporting a sleek design made of stainless steel, the Clean Water 4 Less is eEasy to install, and requires no permanent plumbing fixtures.


Home Master Jr F2 Countertop Water Filter

2 used from $41.90
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm

PROS:

  • 3-stage filtration for 93% contaminant reduction
  • DIY installation
  • Durable – It can handle high water pressure
  • Leak proof
  • Clean and delicious water with no chemical aftertaste  
  • Portable

CONS:

  • Low quality faucet adapter
  • The filters are difficult to replace

The Home Master JrF2 is a compact model that comes at an affordable price. If you don’t have a lot of countertop space, but don’t want to compromise on quality, this is an excellent option.

The water goes through three filter stages to achieve a 93% elimination of harmful chemicals such as chlorine, volatile organic compounds, fluoride, and foul odor and taste in your tap water.

It features 100% sediment extraction capacity, and granular filters like the Activated Alumina for treating fluoride. The coconut shell carbon layer removes all traces of herbicides, pesticides along with other unwanted substances and the unit also has 5-micron compression disks which filter sediments and the special channel blockers ensure even filtration.

We were really impressed with the classy design of the filter. It’s compact so it won’t take up a lot of space and it fits easily on any countertop. This water filter is so easy to install that you can do it by yourself.

The system is also portable, and perfect to take with you when you’re travelling and need a water filtering solution. One downside of the Homemaster TMJRF2 is that the filters are slightly difficult to change and need to be replaced every 3 months or every 500 gallons, which can be a bit of a hassle. Other than that, it’s a great product that really delivers.


Aquasana AQ-4000W Countertop Water Filter

Amazon.com
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm

PROS:

  • NSF-certified
  • Reduces 76+ contaminants
  • Modern, stylish design
  • Portable unit
  • Excellent performance

CONS:

  • Slow – although this water filter is efficient, it’s also rather slow so you will need some patience when you filter the water.

The Aquasana AQ-4000W is an NSF-certified product, which removes up to 97% of the contaminations in your water including chlorine and over 76 other contaminants.

The filter works through a three-stage filtration system that uses a combination of sub-micron filtration, carbon filtration and ion exchange to purify water. Your tap water is forced over the filtration material covering a surface area of over two million square feet. This results in the reduction of more than three times the number of contaminants than most leading pitcher filters. The result is pure, better-tasting water.

Aquasana countertop filter does all this while retaining the calcium, potassium and magnesium in the water. Another plus point is that it’s easy to install. It doesn’t require permanent fixtures which means that it’s perfect for anyone who likes to travel as well. Maintenance is minimal with filter replacements required every 6 months.

The Aquasana filter’s elegant, compact design fits perfectly on your counter, leaving enough space for everything else. One of the main reasons that this filter is so popular is that it costs far less than pitcher filters, while providing high-quality water.

KOR Water Fall Countertop Filter System

3 new from $69.00
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm

PROS:

  • Certified to NSF filter standard
  • The carafes can be removed from the filter unlike traditional filters
  • Low maintenance
  • Space-saving
  • The design is gorgeous

CONS:

  • The filtration is quite slow
  • It sometimes leaks outside of its designated dripping hole
  • Some customers complain that it’s too small

The Water Fall I Countertop Filter System by KOR is one of the best water filters in its price category. It stands out with its unique hourglass appearance, making it by far the most attractive model on this list.

This device is highly effective, eliminating a variety of contaminants such as chlorine and chloramines in your drinking water in a natural and sustainable way with the use of coconut charcoal filters.

The set comes with 2 beautiful glass carafes with caps, 1 stand and 1 filter. The filter can last for up to 4 months or for 80 gallons of water (twice as long as most types of filtered water pitchers) after which you will need to replace it. Apart from standard cleaning, no other maintenance is required.

The Water Fall I is a convenient alternative to regular water filters, and can also be use as a standard jug. The water container allows you to add vegetables, fruit, vitamins and antioxidants in order to create not only healthy but also great tasting infused water.

Ecosoft Countertop Drinking Water Filter System

Amazon.com
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm

PROS:

  • 3-6 months or 1500 gallons lifespan
  • Range of colors
  • Effective filtration
  • Compact size
  • Affordable pricing
  • BPA-free construction

CONS:

  • Poor installation instructions

The Ecosoft Countertop filter system is a standard countertop water filter offering instant water purification. The model comes in several colors to suit your kitchen décor. The slim, modern design of this countertop filter makes it a perfect for all countertops taking up very little space.

The Ecosoft uses activated carbon to purify water removing chlorine, sediment, iron, manganese, organic compounds, and salts along with foul tastes and odors. The system’s filter needs to be changed once every 3-6 months (depending on your water usage) or up to 1,500 gallons of filtration.

One of the main things we like about this model is that it comes with everything you need to install it easily and you can do it all by yourself. The system includes 2 kitchen faucet adaptors as well as a seal and ring for leak-proof installation. There’s even a small plastic wrench included so you don’t need to go around searching for tools to get the job done.

Travel Berkey Water Filter 1.5 Gallon System Bundle

7 new from $473.98
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of February 19, 2024 8:05 pm

PROS:

  • Cost-effective – great performance for its price
  • High capacity filtration – it filters up to 2.5 gallons per hour
  • Long lifespan
  • Meets NSF/ANSI standard 53
  • Made in the USA
  • Supplies enough drinking water for up to 3 people

CONS:

  • Poor installation instructions

Designed and constructed using stainless steel with the capacity to hold up to 1.5 gallons of water, the Travel Berkey Water Filter Bundle is the perfect filtration system for your kitchen countertop or the outdoors.

This water purification system can remove a wide range of toxic substances from most water sources, working 100% off the grid as it requires no electricity or water pressure. This enhances the ease of usage, if you need healthy and fresh water on the go. The filters have an impressive capacity of 6000 gallons, and the system holds up to 1.5 gallons of water at a time.

The Travel Berkey bundle is affordable and comes complete with everything you need for travel. The pack includes two PF2 water filters, a Travel Berkey Tote, a shoulder strap and the Berkey Element Case.

In addition to this, you also get two outer compartments for the dry accessories such as blocking plugs and spigots. You’ll be pleased to find that this water filter bundle is extremely light weighing only 1.27 lbs. Overall a convenient and reliable filter for water at home or on the go.

What is a Countertop Filter?

A countertop filter is a point-of-use filtration system that’s typically installed in the kitchen. The unit sits on the counter and attaches to the kitchen faucet, typically with a diverter tab, so you can switch between filtered and unfiltered water.

Countertop filter

iSpring CKC1 Carbon Countertop Filter

These compact systems offer tasty, clean water at an affordable price. They’re the ideal solution for renters, travelers, people living on the go and those with small apartments.

Countertop filters are also surprisingly efficient and can target an array of contaminants but aren’t a comprehensive filtration system if your water is doubtful. They work best with city water, as these units are effective at filtering chlorine, fluoride, chloramines and lead among others.

However, for untreated private water sources like well water or rainwater, it’s best to use the countertop system in conjunction with other water purification methods. This ensures that the water is made bacteriological safe and contaminant-free. No single filtration system can remove every contaminant in the water, so best practice is to use a combination of methods.

How Does a Countertop Filter Work?

Most countertop filters connect to the kitchen faucet and have their own spout, which dispenses the treated water. They use the water from the faucet to produce filtered water. These systems work automatically, meaning that you won’t have to check on water levels and fill any reservoirs up.

However, some can be stand-alone units that don’t require connection to the faucet. These models work more like filter pitchers and will need to be manually filled and monitored.

Countertop filter system explanation

How a countertop filter works. This is the APEX 5-Stage Model.

Most countertop filters incorporate several filtration layers which work together to target a bigger variety of contaminants. These mediums include activated carbon block (ACB), granular activated carbon (GAC), ultrafiltration, KDF-55 and others.  

Countertop filters may be small, but they’re effective and efficient. These systems typically use multi-stage processes to remove a wide range of contaminants. Some contaminants that countertop filters can remove include:

  • Sediment
  • Rust
  • Lead
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Microorganisms
  • Chlorine
  • Bad taste and odor
  • Atrazine
  • Chlorobenzene
  • Methoxychlor
  • Benzine
  • Hardness minerals
  • And many more…

Some countertop systems utilize reverse osmosis (RO), which removes almost all impurities from the water. RO systems also demineralize the water and produce a large quantity of wastewater but are highly effective at purifying your water.

What to Consider When Buying a Countertop Filter

When choosing the best countertop filter for your home, there are several factors to take into account. Some of these are as follows:

What’s in my water?

As no single filtration system targets 100% of contaminants in water, you’ll first have to know what’s in your water. This will then help you find the best filtration medium for that.

There are a few ways to check you water quality. You can do a home water test using a kit like this one, or request a water quality report from your local water supplier. Another option is to request a water quality test by a professional laboratory.

These tests will indicate the levels of total dissolved solids, hardness compounds and other impurities. If you want to skip this step, purchase a general filter that targets a wide variety of common contaminants. If you have city water, you’d probably be looking at a filter that removes chlorine and lead.

 Contaminant Removal

Now you know what you want to remove from the water, consider the types of filters that target those specific contaminants. This will help you narrow down the choices available.

Type of Filter

The next thing to consider is the type of countertop filter you prefer. We’ve already mentioned above that these filters come in two main types:

  • Sink-top filter: These are the most common countertop filter types. They attach to your faucet and diverts the water into the filter when required. They work on demand, much like an under-sink water filter. Sink-top filters are located next to the sink, require basic installation and aren’t portable.
  • Gravity-fed filter: These work exactly like filter pitchers. You have to fill water into a reservoir located above the container. From here, water filters through into the container by force of gravity. These models are portable and don’t need to be located in a specific spot in the house. They’re perfect for various locations, including when traveling and in offices.

As each has its advantages and disadvantages, carefully consider which type suits your needs best.

Cartridge Lifespan

The lifespan of the filter relates to the filtering capacity of the system. Most countertop filters typically last around 6 months, while some can last up to a year or more.

However, these are just guidelines and can vary depending on your water quality and usage. Pay attention to the water flow of the filter and any changes in taste and smell, as this can indicate that your filter requires replacement.

More frequent replacements mean higher maintenance costs, so factor this into your purchase decision.

Price

Countertop filters range in price, with the most expensive models typically featuring reverse osmosis filtration. However, don’t just look at the initial cost of the filter. Consider the cost of ongoing maintenance as well. A more affordable filter could have expensive replacement cartridges and vice-versa. Take this into consideration when purchasing.

Pros and Cons of a Countertop Filter

No product is perfect, and countertop filters are no exception to this rule. These filters come with several pros and cons.

Countertop Filter Pros:

  • Affordability: Unlike most other filtration systems, countertop filters are relatively affordable. You can purchase a high-quality model for between $60 to $120. This makes it an excellent option if you’re on a budget or don’t want to invest in a filtration system.
  • Compact: These systems are quite small and take up only a little of the countertop space. The compact design offers benefits to people living in smaller houses and apartments who may not have the space for whole-house or under-sink filters.
  • Efficient: Despite their small size, these units are highly efficient and remove most of the common contaminants in water. A high-quality countertop filter offers excellent results, significantly improving the taste and smell of water.
  • Impermanence: Installing a countertop filter doesn’t require a commitment in the sense of structural changes. Installation is easy, with no need for plumbing. All these makes countertop filters ideal for quick and easy filtration with minimal commitment.
  • Portable: The ability to pack up and carry a countertop filter with you gives it added uses and versatility. Regardless of the type of filter, countertop systems are designed to be portable and can easily be taken on holiday with you, to the office, or when camping or hiking.

Countertop Filter Cons:

  • Intrusive: Although they don’t take up much space, they do require space which can be inconvenient in a small kitchen. If this is the case, consider a faucet filter or under-sink filter.
  • Aspect: These units are typically designed to suit a variety of kitchen aesthetics, but you may not like how the filter looks in your kitchen.
  • Slow Flow: This can vary depending on the unit, but in general, countertop filters are known for having slow flow due to the on-demand filtration style. The type of filtration medium can also impact flow.
  • Single Point:

Countertop Filter vs. Under-sink Filter vs. Faucet Filter

There are many types of smaller filtration systems on the market, each with its own pros and cons. Choosing the right filter can be difficult, but knowing your options will help you to filter through them (see what we did there?).

From smaller filtration systems, two other popular types are the faucet filter and under-sink filter. Here’s how they compare:

Faucet Filter vs Under-sink Filter vs. Countertop Filter comparison table

The following image shows how countertop filters compare to faucet filters and under-sink filters in relation to their pros and cons:

Faucet Filter vs. Under-sink Filter vs. Countertop Filter pros and cons

If you want to learn more about countertop filters vs. under-sink filters vs. faucet filters, read our detailed guide.

Should I Buy a Countertop Filter?

Countertop filters are a very good solution if you want clean drinking water easily. This would be a good filtration solution if:

  1. You want an affordable option that doesn’t require a big investment.
  2. You want a less permanent option that allows you to easily install and remove the system as required.
  3. You only want to target drinking water coming out of one point, especially in the kitchen.
  4. You’re looking for a portable filter that can be taken to different locations if needed.
  5. You’re a renter and don’t want to make structural changes to the house.

The Bottom Line

It might be clear by now that countertop filters work like water filter pitchers, providing clean, pure water without too much commitment and cost. Because no single model is comprehensive, choose carefully according to the contaminants in your water, budget, aspect, and space.

Testing your water is the best first step to take before deciding on which filtration system to purchase.

If you’re not sure whether a countertop filter is the best option for you, check out our article on choosing the right water filter. This article outlines the different types of filters and how to choose between them.

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