Having fresh, clean water to drink every day makes for a healthy body. Much of the water that flows from the tap is not as clean as you think.
While it meets minimum standards of cleanliness in most areas of the United States most of us would be a little shocked at what is lurking in our kitchen faucets.
If you want to ensure your family is drinking clean, pure water then a countertop filtration system is an affordable option for almost any budget.
With so many options to choose it may seem overwhelming to make such a purchase. To help you out we’ve compared the most popular countertop water filter options and reviewed their features, pros and cons to help you decide which brand is right for you
We’ve broken down this review into 2 main types of countertop systems: gravity water filters & faucet hookups.
Table of Contents
- 1 Types of Countertop Water Filters
- 2 A Review of the Best Gravity Countertop Water Filter Systems
- 3 Faucet Hookup Water Filters
- 4 Additional Tips to Help You Choose the Right Countertop Water Filter
- 5 Clean Water for Cleaner Living
Types of Countertop Water Filters
Gravity water filters are an easy way to create filtered water in any location of your home.
There are two chambers in a gravity filter that are separated by a filtering system. The top chamber is where you pour in your unfiltered water, typically straight from the tap. The bottom chamber where your filtered water is stored.
The water filter works as you might imagine – by using gravity to pull the water from one compartment into the next. Different types of filtering systems are using in gravity water filters, depending on the manufacturer or model.
- Flexibility. This type of filter does not need to be connected to a water source so it can be placed anywhere in your home. It is also common for folks to keep one at their office.
- No electricity is needed to power the filter.
- Filters last a long time.
- They are slower to filter the water initially.
- Replacement parts can be pricey.
- They are typically larger in size since they need to be big enough to store a few gallons of drinking water.
A Review of the Best Gravity Countertop Water Filter Systems
I have selected three of the top-selling countertop water filtration systems to review in a range of prices to make finding the right one for your needs a little easier. These are all gravity water filters, so no electricity is needed.
Zen Water Systems 4 Gallon Countertop Water Filter System
This is one of the best countertop water filtration systems on the market for around $80. Most users have nothing but good things to say about the unit and whenever they had a problem, customer service was right there to resolve it.
- A five-step filtration system that removes sediment, chlorine, pesticides, and bacteria from tap water
- It is compact and stylish with a great spout for dispensing the water.
- Makes very clean, pure alkalized water using healthy mineral stones with calcium, zinc, and magnesium.
- No electricity required
- The filters are inexpensive to replace, last a long time and the company provides great customer service
- Minimal maintenance required
- This unit is somewhat time-consuming to set up. Read the instructions carefully and follow them. You will need to boil and rinse the mineral stones and run two cycles before you consume the water it produces
- It does not make the water very quickly, but that’s because it has such an extensive filtration system. The first time you use the Zen countertop water filter, it may take 12 hours to fill the basin. After that, the time will be considerably less, but may still take 3 or more hours.
- Replacement parts and filters have to be ordered from the company directly. They are available on the Zen Water’s replacment filters page.
Click here to read more about the Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration System.
Santevia Counter Top Water Filtration System
This model is on the medium end of the price scale at $180. However, when you consider the cost of buying bottled water over and over, this will pay for itself after a year.
This is a gravity-powered system that not only cleans your tap with a multi-filter system but also re-mineralizes the water to make it more alkaline, which has many health benefits.
The Santevia Gravity Water System goes through an 8 stage system to filter the water:
- Ceramic Pre-filter removes minerals sediment and bacteria
- Granular activated coconut carbon filters chlorine, pesticides, chemicals, and heavy metals. This stage also improves ORP.
- Volcanic Mineral Zeolite stage inhibits bacteria & neutralizes heavy metals through an ion exchange process
- Mineral Stone Infusion promotes oxygenation & alkalinizes
- pH Mineral Balls add calcium, magnesium to further increase Ph
- Energy Balls to assist in balancing Ph and energize the water
- Mineral Stone Immersion to release ionized minerals
- Magnetic Energy breaks the water molecules into smaller clusters for better absorption
- Crystal clear great tasting water – users of this system, even those who had issues with their unit, say the water is incredibly clean, odor free and taste good.
- Filters and alkalizes – the more filters the cleaner your water gets. Having good minerals put back in the water before you drink it is an added bonus.
- No electricity needed – lightweight and fairly easy (but time-consuming) to set up
- Great customer service – most people who contacted the company reported they given good help and were able to get replacement parts promptly
- Leaks – that was one of the most common complaints from those who have the unit. Leaks around the faucet seemed to be from improper installation. The worst complaint was that the storage unit leaked all over the counter and floors. Others reported that it only leaks it you don’t fill it all the way to the top
- Hard to change filters – several reviewers of this system carped about how long it took to replace the filters
Most of the reviews of this unit were very favorable. Since it is one of the more expensive models, you can bet people are going to complain loudly if it doesn’t live up to the investment. Since the customer service seems to be top-notch, the Santevia model is a good choice if you are serious about saving money over the long-term on bottled water and filters.
Berkey Travel Stainless Steel Water Filtration System with 2 Black Filter Elements
The Berkey Water Filter is at the top of the price and might stretch your budget a little. It normally retails between $228 and $250. The reason for the higher price is the materials. It is made from stainless seal which most people prefer over a plastic unit.
Although the Berkey water filters are higher priced than some, most people think it’s worth the cost. They consistently get some of the highest customer reviews.
The travel size Berkey is good for a smaller family of up to four. Many also take this size on vacation or even on camping trips. They also make larger sizes like the Big Berkey which holds 2.1 gallons of water and the Royal Berkey that holds 3 gallons.
- Made from stainless steel. The only plastic is inside the spigot. This is a huge selling point for most people since the stainless steel will last a lifetime and not impact that “plastic taste” you get with some water filters.
- Filters water fast at up to 2.75 gallons per hour
- When not in use the upper chamber fits inside the lower section, so is only 12 inches in height. This makes it easy to pack if you want to take it with you on a trip.
- Testing was performed by independent EPA laboratories and results exceeded the EPA standards.
- The storage capacity is smaller than the other 2 units at 1.5 gallons
- A few people complained that the filter started leaking from the spigot after several months. If you overtighten the plastic wing nuts, you can strip the threads causing the leak. You can buy replacements parts directly on the Berkey website.
- Care must also be taken when filling the unit. It is recommended to not overfill the top compartment when the bottom compartments are not empty, or this could also cause leaks. It is important to read the instructions that come with the unit to prevent this type of problem.
Comparison Table of our Favorite Countertop Water Pitchers
Following is a comparison table of the important features you should consider when purchasing a water filter pitcher for your kitchen.
|Zen Countertop Water Filter||Santevia Counter Top Water System||Travel Berkey Water Filter|
|Product Links||Click to see more information||Click to see more Information||Click to see more information|
|Capacity||4 Gallons||4 Gallons||1.5 Gallons|
|Material||BPA Free Plasitc||BPA Free Plasitc||Stainless Steel|
|Filter Process||5 Functions: Filters, Purifies, Mineralizes, Alkalinizes, Magnetizes||8 stage purification process||Unique filter process using microfiltration, absorption and an Ion exchange process.|
Removes 100% pathogens
|Measurments||12.5"D x 22"H||12.25"D x 23.5"H||7.5"D x 18"H|
|Weight||6.5 pounds||8.6 pounds||6 pounds|
|Filter Life||Ceramic filter:1,000 gallons or 1 yr |
5-Stage Filter: 500 gallons or 6 months
Mafia Mineral Stones is 3 to 5 yrs
|Ceramic pre-filter: 1 yr|
5-Stage Filter: 6 months
Mineral Stones: 2-5 yrs
|3,000 gallons per filter element|
About 3 yrs (1k gallon a year)
|Replacement Filter Cost||Ceramic Dome (about $15)|
5 Stage Cartridge (about $20-22)
Mineral Stones ($13-20)
|Ceramic PreFilter ($30-35)|
5 stage ultrasonic filter (about $35)
Mineral Stones ($30-35)
|$100-110 (set of 2 black filter cartridges)|
***Note: All prices are estimates at the time of this publication and are subject to change
Faucet Hookup Water Filters
Faucet filtering systems give you the option of using both filtered or unfiltered water directly from your kitchen sink.
Faucet filters are connected to your kitchen faucet where the water is diverted from the spigot into the filtering system. A typical installation involves unscrewing your faucet’s aerator, then attaching the diverter valve which connects to the filtering system. The diverter valve should have an on/off switch.
You’ll turn it off when you want to use unfiltered water for washing the dishes and cleaning. Turn the switch to on when you want to filter the water. The clean water is dispensed from its own spigot on the side of your kitchen sink.
- Installation is very easy, typically only taking a few minutes
- Convenient to use
- Very quick to filter water
- Changing out the filter can be tricky depending on the model purchased (be sure to keep the instructions!)
- The filtering unit sits next to your sink & can sometimes get in the way
- There is no easy way to tell when the filter needs to be changed
Apex Countertop Drinking Water Filter, Alkaline, Clear (MR-1050)
The Apex unit is our favorite of this category. Not only does it removes the common contaminants and pesticides from your drinking water, but it creates great tasting alkaline water.
The Apex Alkaline Water Filter uses a 5 stage water filter system. Water is fed into the unit from your faucet where it will pass through the filters that remove chlorine, industrial chemicals, and heavy metals such as radon and lead and mercury.
The alkaline filter will add back minerals that are good for us, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The results are PH Balanced water with a clean, fresh taste at an affordable price.
- Great customer service from APEX.
- Installs easily from your kitchen faucet.
- The price point is very manageable, currently at under $100.
- NSF & FDA certified.
- Comes in 5 colors to best match your kitchen’s decor.
- Filter can be hard to change. See our detailed review on this unit for some pointers on changing the filter.
The Apex Alkaline Countertop Drinking Water Filter gets our vote for the best countertop faucet filter since it is easy to use, comes at a great price and creates great tasting alkaline water right from your faucet.
Click here to see additional details and purchase on Amazon.com. You’ll want to check out the 5 different colors!
Additional Tips to Help You Choose the Right Countertop Water Filter
If you are still not sure which model is right for you, here are a few guidelines to get you started:
- Find out what is in your city’s drinking water – you can read a water quality report from the Environmental Protection Agency for your state. The EPA’s website publishes the contact information for community water systems in the United States. Knowing what contaminants might be in your water is the first step in deciding what kind of countertop filtration system to purchase.
- Determine how much water you will consume every day on average – most countertop filtration systems are designed for a family of one to six people, plus a pet or two. A family of ten with two or three dogs and a cat will need more water than a countertop model can provide.
- Pick up some pH strips to see how alkaline your tap water is. It should be at least a 7 on the pH scale, and if it is lower, you have acidic water. This is not what you want. More alkaline water has several health benefits, and a counter-top water filtration system can help you ensure your water has a proper pH.
- Space – do you have adequate counter space to accommodate a water filtration system? If not, you might want to consider an under the sink model.
Clean Water for Cleaner Living
Countertop filtration systems are a very good option for those a lot of reasons. If you are renting and cannot install a permanent unit, if you have limited space under your cabinets or just want to have an easy alternative to buying bottled, then one of these countertop models makes sense.
To have access to pure, clean alkalized water for drinking, washing produce and cooking is essential for good health. Anytime you are drinking more water, that’s an investment in yourself that everyone should make.