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A high-quality whole house water filtration system can target contaminants at the point of entry, only allowing clean, filtered water to enter your home. Whole-house filter systems are effective, quick and efficient, ensuring that every water outlet in your home gives you filtered water. In this article, we’ve reviewed the 11 best whole house water filtration systems, outlining their pros, cons and specifications. Our list includes systems that work with a variety of methods and mediums to target a range of common water contaminants, to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed choice prior to purchase.
Express Water Home Water Filtration System
- 3 stage whole house filtration system
- Easy monitoring with pressure gauges and clear housing
- Top-quality high flow filtration that gives clear drinking water
- Does not decrease water pressure
- Fast flow rate at 0.25 gallons of water per second
- The gauges can cause leakages if not fixed correctly
The Home Water Filtration System by Express Water will remove every type of contaminant right out of your water! In our opinion, this is one of the best whole house filtration systems that removes up to 99% of chlorine, lead, rust, fungi, sand, sulfur and a range of other types of contaminants that can be present in water.
The 3-stage filtration system has been carefully engineered so that each filter works simultaneously without any discrepancies.
- Stage 1 – Sediment filter removes coarse damaging contaminants like sand, dirt and rust
- Stage 2 – Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) filter removes metal contaminants like iron, lead, arsenic, chlorine, mercury and sulfur
- Stage 3 – Activated Carbon Block captures chlorine, bad taste and odor, pharmaceuticals, total organic carbon (TOC) and turbidity
The cartridges efficiently filters up to an impressive 100,000 gallons of water. Depending on your usage and the quality of your water, the filters can last from 6 to 12 months.
Because of the clear housing of the first stage, you can keep track of the state of the filter and know when it requires replacing. The filtration rate is fast at 0.25 gallons per second, which means clean water at a fast rate.
The set comes with a free standing stainless steel frame with pressure gauge monitoring. The frame protects your system, while still making it easy to change the filters when needed. Most filtration systems have a complex procedure to get the filters out for maintenance but with this particular system, the simple twist off housings lets you change your filters within seconds. Installation is easy with the option to have the filter either mounted or unmounted.
iSpring Water Filtration System for Whole House – WGB22B
- 2-stage filter unit with compact design
- Removes up to 99% of chlorine from the water
- Filters 100,000 gallons of water for full year of clean water
- Pea flow GMP of 15
- Easy DIY style installation
- Does not reduce Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
- Not a solution for hard water
iSpring Water Filtration System is an effective, compact system that removes up to 99% of chlorine and 95% of physical and chemical contaminants from your drinking water. The water that comes out of the filter is clear and clean. The system consists of 2 stages:
- Stage 1: The sediment filter removes particles as small as 5 microns. Removes dirt, sediment and large particles that can clog the next filter.
- Stage 2: The carbon block filter uses high-end coconut shell carbon which captures particles that escaped the first stage. Filters 99% of chlorine, bad taste and odor, VOCs, industrial chemicals and more.
Both filters meet the official NS/ANSI standards for quality. Each filter has the capacity of filtering 100,000 gallons of water at a rate of 15 GMP at peak flow.
The system is set up at the main water line of the house so that you get clean, chemical-free water throughout your house. The unit is easy to use and requires little to no maintenance, apart from period cleaning and cartridge replacement.
The iSpring WGN22B suits both well water and municipal water, and with the easy DIY installation, anyone with minimal experience can set it up.
APEC Water Filter System for Whole House
- It has a high-quality and noteworthy 3-stage filtration process.
- It is a durable unit with heavy-duty housing.
- Made from top-notch reinforced polypropylene.
- Does not remove fluoride.
- Large canisters.
With a premium 3-stage filtration system, the APEC Water Filter System combines value with longevity. While it’s best suited for whole house filtration, the APEC is effective enough for light commercial or industrial applications.
- Stage 1: A pleated sediment filter that can be washed and reused without any compromise on the functionality and quality of the filter. Removes sand, dirt, particles, rust and colloid.
- Stage 2: GAC carbon filter adsorbes chlorine, odors, bad taste and organic contaminants.
- Stage 3: Carbon block filter removes chlorine and other chemicals
The filters have a capacity of filtering 100,000 gallons of water without the need of changing the cartridges. To make the product as convenient as possible, the water filter is pre-assembled and ready to mount. On delivery, all you have to do is take it out of the box and install it in its appropriate place.
If you have hard water, however, the APEC isn’t designed to treat this but it can work in conjunction with a water softener.
General Electric GXWH40L Whole Home Filtration System
5 used from $46.60
- High-functionality and efficient filtering of water.
- Transparent exterior helps you to see the filters.
- Quick installation.
- Certified by NSF/ANSI.
- It can cause water hammer when check valve is used.
- Doesn’t remove all contaminants.
- Not suitable for large houses with more water usage.
- Three month filter life.
Providing a heavy-duty filtration process, the General Electric GXWH40L Whole Home Filtration System makes sure you get clean and healthy water for drinking as well as washing, cooking, and bathing at an affordable price. This is one of the most budget-friendly options on our list.
This single-filter system is compact and stylish with a clear exterior which allows you to examine the working of the filter and also know when it is time to change it.
- Stage 1: Certified to remove dirt, silt, rust, sand and scale
It is best to install the filter at the main supply line. It has compatible and reliable pipe connections that ensure fast and swift flow of water through the pipes without any fluctuation in the pressure.
The General Electric Filtration system has one of the easiest installation processes. It has a 1-inch plumbing connection, bypass option, pressure relief valve, remote filter reminder light, and mounting bracket so you can set it up without any trouble. These features also help you to judge when it is best to change the filters. However, because this is a single filter unit, the life of the filter is only about 3 months which means frequent filter changes.
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
- High contaminant reduction.
- No need for draining or backflushing.
- Cost-efficient unit.
- Unique upflow design for more contact time.
- The system does not reduce Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).
- It might be difficult to install.
With an impressive 97% removal of chlorine, dirt and other harmful contaminants, Aquasana Water Filter System is a worthwhile investment. It is one of the best high-performing filter systems that we have seen on the market.
The unique upflow dual tank design prevents clogging and increases water contact time with the filter. This means better filtration and more removal of unwanted polluants.
- Stage 1: Sediment pre-filter removes large particles and protects the other filters.
- Stage 2: Activated carbon and KDF filter reduce 97% of chlorine, lead, mercury, persticides, VOCs and more
- Stage 3: Post filter completes filtration process and removes any remaining contaminants
While the pre and post filters should be changed more frequently (approximately 3 to 6 months) the larger, stage 2 filter can last up to 100,000 gallons or 10 years. On average, using the Aquasana system results in filtered water at about $ 0.01 dollars per gallon, making it an excellent investment.
We all have busy lives with thousands of tasks to tick off our checklist at the end of the day. We do not want any more tasks, now do we? Keeping our busy lives in mind, the brand has made its product as convenient to use as possible. There is no need for backflushing or draining. All you have to do is change the pre and post-filters every 3 months or so.
3M Aqua-Pure Water Filter System – Whole House
1 used from $202.76
- Long filter life – 12 months or 100,000 gallons.
- Has carbon block technology.
- Removes 85% of chlorine taste and odor.
- Does not remove biological contaminants.
- Not suitable for well water.
The 3M Aqua-Pure Water Filter System for Whole House provides you with a great solution to not only get clean drinking water but also keep your pipes and other appliance safe and free from hard water or clogs.
Being the industry’s very first Sanitary Quick Change (SQC), the company has made sure to incorporate all of the essential features in their unit to keep you satisfied.
- Single Stage: GAC filter reduces sediment, chlorine, dirt, bad taste and odor and particles from water
If you like to get things done as quickly as possible then this product is ideal for you. Installation and replacement are easy and quick. To replace the water filter cartridge, you’ll simply have to twist it. The best thing is that you do not have to touch the filter media to change the cartridges. Moreover, it has stainless inlet and outlet connections with a diameter of 1 inch that helps to increase the flow rates up to 20 GPM at peak flow.
However, this model isn’t suitable for use with non-disinfected water as it doesn’t remove microbes like bacteria, viruses or spores. If your water contains biological contaminants, it’s best to avoid this model.
Home Master Whole House Water Filtration System
- It allows for longer service intervals.
- Multi-gradient density sediment filters that can easily be removed and replaced.
- Removes 95% of chemicals, sediment, and other toxins.
- Purifies up to 95,000 gallons of water.
- Suitable for well water.
- Easy cartridge replacement.
- Doesn’t remove iron bacteria
- Doesn’t soften water but can be used together with a water softener
Home Master Whole House Water Filtration System gives you a 3 stage filtering process that removes all types of sediments, chemicals and other harmful impurities from your water.
- Stage 1: Multi-gradient depth polypropylene sediment filter removes removes bacterial and chemical contaminants
- Stage 2: Radial flow iron filter removes heavy metals, manganese, sulfur and iron
- Stage 3: Radial flow GAC filter with coconut shell carbon to reduce chlorine, chemicals and bad taste and odor
The Home Master filters water at a rate of 15 gallons per minute with a peak flow of 40 GMP. It’s especially suitable for well water as it effectively removes iron and heavy metals. If you have well water or heavy metals in your water, the Home Master is an excellent option for you, but if you’ve got city water, consider the Home Master HMF2SmgCC.
It has large filters and housing with 1-inch ports which provide optimal water pressure, greater filtering capacity and a less maintenance. The system reduces damage to water heaters and pipes and results in clean water that’s great for your hair and skin as well as for drinking.
iSpring WGB32B Whole House Water Filtration System
3 used from $360.09
- Durable unit with long filter life.
- Keeps the healthy minerals in your water.
- Removes 99% of chlorine from water.
- Water capacity of 100,000 gallons.
- Point-of-entry system for whole house filtration.
- There is no standpipe in the canisters.
- Doesn’t reduce TDS.
- Large product.
- Installation requires some experience or knowledge.
This effective whole house filtering system eliminates up to 99% of chlorine and 95% of other impurities in your water like sediments, dirt, silt, rust, pesticides, industrial solvents and many VOCs from the water via a 3-stage filtering process.
- Stage 1: Multi-layer sediment filter that can filter particles as small as 5 microns with minimal pressure loss. Removes all particles that can clog the following filters.
- Stage 2: Carbon block filter with coconut shell carbon and compact fabrication for effective contaminant removal.
- Stage 3: Carbon block filter removes remaining contaminants, bad taste and odor.
Note that while it won’t treat hard water, it can be used together with a water softener.
To help you install the filtration system as swiftly as possible, the company provides manuals and Youtube videos to guide you in the process. However, it can be difficult to install this, especially if you have no prior experience in the area. You might want to consult a professional for this. Also, while the images makes the system look small, expect a large filter. Make sure you have the space for it by getting accurage measurements before you buy.
The resulting water is noticeably improved, and you’ll be able to tell the difference when drinking, cooking, showering and doing laundry.
DuPont WFPF13003B Whole House Water Filtration System
2 used from $18.55
- Extremely affordable.
- Filters 15,000 gallons of water.
- Has 3-year limited warranty.
- Premium quality filter.
- Compatible with standard 10 inch cartridges.
- Made of plastic.
- The cartridge provided doesn’t remove a range of contaminants.
This single canister whole house filtering system is one of the most popular on our list because it’s extremely affordable yet effective. Although the filter has a capacity of only 15,000 gallons, which means more frequent filter changes, it’s still a good investment considering its compact size and price.
The filter works with a poly block cartridge that targets physical contaminants like sediment. The mounting bracket comes already installed, which means that all you have to do is to fit it into its position. Note that it doesn’t work horizontally and must be mounted vertically.
One of the main benefits of the DuPont is that it allows you to create your own multi-stage filtration system by using 2 or more of them in a row, due to its affordability, ease of installation and use.
One point to note – remember to open the unit and remove the instruction manual that comes wrapped around the cartridge. If not, you’ll simply defeat the purpose of having the filter system in the first place!
EcoPure EPWO4 Whole House Water Filtration System – NO Cartridge
- Universal fit with standard 10” filter cartridges.
- Easy to install.
- High flow for larger homes.
- Perfect for customization.
- It does not come with a filter.
There are times when you need to customize your filtration system to suit your specific needs. This is where the EcoPure EPWO4 comes in. The system also allows customizing your filtration depending upon the choice of filter required. This means that it can use EcoPure household filters like EPW4C and EPW4F. In addition to this is can also use the whole home filters of other major brands like Whirlpool, DuPont, Watts, and Culligan.
The high-flow system is designed for use in larger homes and can be installed at the point of entry. It has a simple design so that everyone can use it without any trouble. The mounting bracket and pressure release buttons make changing the filters a piece of cake.
Culligan Water Filtration System for Whole House WH-HD200-C – No Cartridge
3 used from $47.44
- Heavy-duty system.
- Compatible with a range of Culligan filter cartridges.
- The unit comes with screws, hanger bracket, battery and filter wrench.
- Offers versatility.
- Can be difficult to install.
Another system that comes WITHOUT the cartridge, the Culligan WH-HD200-C offers versatility. It’s compatible with a range of Culligan cartridges, which means you can always change the filter as you see fit. Depending on the filter cartridge you use, you can target the removal of sediment, rust, scale, dirt, coarse sand and a range of other impurities.
The canister is clear and transparent which is convenient since you will be able to see the filters and also know when it is time to wash or replace the filters. The unit embraces a shut-off (bypass) valve, filter change timer that is battery-operated, and integrated bracket design which all work together to give you a high-flow easy to use filtration system.
To ensure your safety, the product has been tested and certified by NSF and ANSI. It also meets all the required standards for material safety as well as structural integrity.
What is a Whole House Water Filter System?
Unlike other types of filters, a whole house system does just that – filter water for the whole house. The system is located at the entry point, where the water enters the plumbing of the house. Because of this location, the filter removes the contaminants in the water before the water is distributed and dispensed from the various outlets in the house, including the faucets in the kitchen and bathroom, the dishwasher, washing machine and showerheads.
A whole house filter removes the need for individual filters like shower water filters or under sink filters. This makes it a more efficient, effective and time-saving system. While the initial outlay for a whole house filter may be more than other types of filters, in the long run, it proves to be a worthwhile investment offering gallons for pennies.
Types of Drinking Water Contaminants
Before we go further into the discussion about how to choose a whole house filter, it’s important to understand the types of contaminants typically found in water. Not every filter system targets every contaminant, so by knowing the specific types of contaminants in your water, you’ll be able to pick the filter best suited for you. The EPA outlines four categories of pollutants commonly found in water:
- Physical – This refers to contaminants that impact the appearance and physical properties of water, like sediment, particles or organic impurities like insects, leaves, algae and soil.
- Chemical – Chemical contaminants can be natural or can be added to the water by humans. These include fluoride, chlorine, iodine, salts and pesticides.
- Biological – These are living organisms in the water like bacteria, viruses, microbes, spores and parasites. Drinking water with micro-organisms can cause waterborne illnesses and must be removed for the water to be considered safe.
- Radiological – This refers to contaminants that emit ionizing radiation. This type of contaminants is also called radionuclides, and includes radon, plutonium and uranium. Radiological contaminants can be dangerous but unfortunately quite common in drinking water.
The types of contaminants can vary depending on the source of water. For example, city water is typically disinfected and doesn’t have biological contaminants, but it will almost always have chlorine. While chlorine removes these dangerous parasites in water, it isn’t something you necessarily want to drink or smell.
Well water can have a variety of the above contaminants, especially biological contaminants, iron and gases like hydrogen sulfide which emit odors like rotten eggs. As such, a more complex system may be required to clean the water and make it fit to use.
What Do Whole House Systems Filter?
Whole house filters target a range of the contaminants mentioned above, but it depends on the types of filter cartridges used. The two most commonly used types of filters are:
- Sediment Filters – This is the most common type of filter used and are the first filter in most whole house filatration systems that have several stages. Sediment filters remove large particles, dirt, dust, rust and other physical contaminants. This protects the following filters, reducing the likelihood of blockage and clogging.
- Activated Carbon Filters – Another staple in most filters, activated carbon filters are also known as charcoal filters. These are affordable cartridges that target a variety of contaminants using adsorption (not absorption), most notably chlorine, odors and bad taste. Most multi-stage filters may typically have more than one carbon filter set one after the other.
How to Choose a Whole House Filter
- Filter Life: The longer the filter life, the more time in between filter replacements. This correlates to less hassle, more savings and easier overall maintenance. Most whole house filters are heavy-duty in style, filtering up to 100,000 gallons or more. This means that you probably won’t need to replace the filter for up to 12 months at a time. However, there are also filters that require more frequent changing. One thing to note is that filter lifespan varies depending on factors like how much water you use and the quality of your water, so consider the provided timespan as a guideline and not as fact written in stone. Naturally a single person in a small apartment will be able to use a filter much longer than a large house with a family of four.
- Filter Size: In the case of whole house filters, filter size is an important consideration. Most filters in this category are 10” which refers to the length of the filter. As there are many filters that come in this size, it makes it easier for you to switch filters that have universal design. This gives you more leeway in changing the filters as you require, opening up your options.
- Contaminant Removal: We’ve already discussed the types of contaminants that are frequently found in tap water so when picking your filter, consider what types of impurities it removes.
- Water Flow Rate: The flow rate is calculated at gallons per minute (GPM) and ranges from 10 to 40 or more. When considering the GMP, think about how the water consumption at your home. Small households that use less water can manage with a low GMP while larger homes may require more flow.
- Port Size: This refers to the diameter of the connection point. Smaller port sizes can result in a drop in pressure so opt for a port size of at least 1 inch.
- Filter Micron Rating: Filters vary in micron rating, which refers to the distance between pieces of the filter media. The lower the micron rating, the smaller the particles allowed to pass through. A high-quality filter will block particles that are larger than .035 microns, which basically means that it’ll filter all significant contaminants.
- NSF Standards: While it’s not a specific requirement, a filter that meets NSF standards is desirable because it means that it’s been tested and approved by the relevant authorities and organizations in the US. Note that not having the NSF certifications doesn’t mean the product is of low quality or faulty. Sometimes, some smaller companies simply can’t afford the hefty prices required to get certification, but they may still have high-quality products.
Whole House Filters vs. Reverse Osmosis Filter Systems
One thing you’ll notice as you go through the list of best whole house water filters is that none of them are reverse osmosis systems. Considering that RO systems are among the best when it comes to purifying water and treating hard water, why is it that it’s not used in whole house filter systems?
The reason is simple. Although RO is highly effective, it’s not very efficient for large amounts of water.
RO systems take a lot of time to process and filter water, which just wouldn’t be feasible for water for the whole house where water is required quickly.
Another reason is that RO water is highly pure, and most people don’t need that for all water outlets in your home. For example, it would be a waste of resources to use RO water to flush your toilets or do your laundry in.
Also, because RO systems produce a lot of wastewater during the process, they’re not very sustainable. For every gallon of pure water you get from an RO unit, at least a gallon of water is wasted. While this is perfectly fine in smaller amounts, it would be highly inefficient and wasteful for a whole house system. If you need RO water for cleaning, cooking drinking and other similar activities, consider an under-sink RO system.
However, one important point is that whole house filter systems don’t treat hard water and can’t reduce the minerals found in hard water. While hard water is fine for consumption, it can be very hard on your appliances, body and pipes, causing water spots, dry skin and hair, lime scale and other build up. If this is the situation in your home, consider pairing your whole house water filter with a water softener to treat hard water.
How to Install a Whole House Filter System?
To make sure that you’re filtering and treating all the water going through your house, you need to attach the filter at the earliest possible point of entry. This is where the municipal water enters the house.
- Turn off the water at the main source and drain as much water as possible. Do this by opening all faucets in the house.
- Clean the pipes before making any connections then cut into the pipe and drain any excess water that comes through.
- Make the necessary connections as per the provided instructions. Use Teflon tape on the fittings to prevent leakage.
- Mount the filter in position and ensure that all the connections are in the correct directions.
- Once all the connections have been made, turn the water back on and check for any leaks.
Do I Need a Whole House Filter System?
A whole house water filter is not always the best option, considering that there are a range of filter types for different needs. While it’s always a good idea to run your water through a filtration system at home to ensure that municipal water is removed of chemicals and pollutants, is a whole house filter what you need?
You need a whole house filter if:
- You test your water and find that it is heavily contaminated
- You want clean water from every outlet in your home
- You don’t trust the municipal water and/or the pipes it comes through
- Your water emits a strange odor and taste
- Your water is visibly sub-par, containing cloudiness or visible particles
- You’re using well water
- You live in an old house with aged pipes that could leak lead and heavy metals into the water system
Don’t buy a whole house filter if:
- You only want filtered water to drink or cook with
- You live in a rental apartment and don’t want to invest in a long-term solution
- You don’t have the space for a whole house filter
- You’re on a tight budget
- You’re using tap water and don’t mind the chlorine and chloramine much
- You live in a relatively new building with new piping in a developed country
Why Choose a Whole House Filter?
It’s clear by now what makes a whole house filter distinct to other types of filters but in case you missed anything, let’s have a quick look at the benefits of choosing a whole house filter:
- Clean water across the board – Having a whole house filter gives you the peace of mind that you’ve got the cleanest water possible throughout your home. Not only is your drinking and cooking water clean, but also your bathing, showering and possibly toilet flushing water too (although this last is definitely unnecessary).
- Great for skin and hair – Harsh water full of chlorine and chemicals can dry out your skin and hair, causing them to be dull and lifeless. You’ll notice significant improvements in your shower water with a whole house filter, which will refresh your body.
- Potential reduction of disease and allergies – By removing the variety of contaminants in your water, you’ll be able to reduce the risk of getting ill by bacteria getting into your system. Additionally, clean water reduces the risk of irritating sinus infections, allergies and asthma, to name a few, that can flare up especially if chemicals like chlorine in water vaporize. This can happen when showering in very hot water contaminated with chemicals as well as when using products like humidifiers.
- Affordable way to get clean water – When you’re setting up your whole house filter, it might seem as though you’ve laid out a lot of money. But over time, you’ll notice that you’re spending pennies for the gallon.
Can I Drink Whole House Filtered Water?
You might be wondering whether your whole house filtration system provides you water that’s clean enough to drink. This depends on the quality of your water supply. Whole house water filter systems tend to remove the most obvious contaminants, those that impact the appearance, taste and smell of the water. They don’t necessarily remove biological contaminants and very few whole house filters remove dangerous contaminants like heavy metals.
To have perfectly safe drinking water, you can always choose to pair your whole house filter system with an under-sink water filter or a countertop filter. These are designed to purify drinking water and because they work at slower rates, they often have greater contact time and are able to filter water more effectively.
The best option is to first test your water to gauge its quality. From there, you can decide whether you need a filter for your drinking water.
In general, tap water in the US is safe to drink but every now and then a horror story like the Flint Water Crisis will hit the news, making people worry about the safety of their water.
The Bottom Line
Overall, whole house systems are an excellent option if you want a one-stop solution for clean water through all the pipes in your home. It requires a little research and know-how to set up, but once up and running, maintenance is minimal, and the ongoing cost is relatively low.
When choosing your whole house system, consider the contaminants you need to remove from your water, your budget, space for installation, as well as the specifics of the model. Overall, whole house filter systems are quite affordable and, even if it’s not essential for your home, can still provide peace of mind.