Best Water Filters for Apartment Living — A Comprehensive Review
Water keeps the body looking and feeling healthy — both inside and out. However, clean, pure water is not always available. Living in an apartment can particularly be challenging since tenants may have no control over the quality of well or municipal water supplied. Luckily, families living in apartments can protect themselves using water filters.
Filters are the go-to for people with concerns about toxins in their home's water. They may also be bought for convenience when people simply want better-tasting water. There are, however, a plethora of water filters on the market, each of which removes different contaminants from your water. They also come in all shapes and sizes.
As such, this article is the perfect guide when wondering which type to buy. But first, how does one know whether they need a water filter? Simple! — A water quality test.
To make your research process easier, here are the top choices for all the categories of water filters suitable for apartments:
1. Bottle: LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
2. Faucet Attachment: PUR Advanced Faucet Attachment
3. Filter Pitcher: Clearly Pitcher
4. Distiller: Waterwise 4000 Distiller
5. Countertop Gravity Filter: Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter
6. Countertop Gravity Filter: AquaTru Countertop RO System
Testing the Water Quality in an Apartment
A landlord may supply water from a private well, and it's natural to wonder whether that water is safe. The first step, which is the simplest when it comes to testing, is using one own's senses. Using the eyes, look for cloudiness or particles in water. Using the tongue, detect any funny taste, and finally, using the nose, detect any strange odors.
Most times, to a layman, the water may appear safe. But that's not always the case, and knowing the repercussions of contaminated water, one would rather not take the chances. That said, the next step is to look for a home water quality test kit. These kits are easily found online or at local stores. When exposed to toxins in your water, they usually have strips that change color.
The most efficient method is to obtain a quality test from a state-certified laboratory. The EPA has recommended labs in every state and territory in the United States. As such, carry a sample, and get it tested. Not only will the results say if the water is contaminated, but they will also list the contaminants and their quantities when present.
9 Things to Consider When Choosing a Water Filter for an Apartment
After finding out that the water is contaminated, what's the next step? Walk into a store and pick the first filter one spots, or perhaps the most affordable? No. The next step is to assess which filter suits the family with these 9 considerations:
Diverse water filtration systems are designed differently, which means they remove a different range of impurities. Chlorine and lead are 2 of the most common pollutants. As such, almost all water filtration system removes them.
More dangerous components like mercury, man-made chemicals, and other pollutants need more advanced systems. Apartments with private wells may also harbor harmful microbes in their water. As such, a filter that removes bacteria and viruses is ideal.
2. Physical Dimensions
The filter to get is also determined by the size of space one has in their apartments. As such, get a filter whose length, width, and height fit into the intended storage location. Getting a huge countertop filter or a distiller, for example, may not be the best choice without sufficient side space.
3. Replacement Filters
A filtration system is only as good as its filters. That said, some filters wear out faster than others in different systems. They may therefore need regular replacement, yet filters are quite pricey. Conclusively, look for a system whose filter life makes sense financially.
4. Portability of the System
When renting, most tenants don't intend to stay in a specific apartment indefinitely. It is therefore advisable to get a portable water filtration system that can be transported from house to home. Nobody wants to be stuck in an apartment for 2 years because the filter has to stay in for 2 years!
When selecting a filter, consider how much water the family uses. For a dorm or apartment, for example, a smaller pitcher could suffice. However, faucet or under-sink filters may make more sense for larger homes. This is especially for families who would like to clean their cooking water. All these filter types will be discussed next, though they are self-explanatory from their names and work as they sound.
When buying anything, the cost is always a primary factor. The same case applies to water filtration systems. They can cost thousands of dollars or as little as $20.
Since most systems are quite capable of removing pollutants from water, other features like size and efficiency will come into play when looking at the cost. The cheapest may not necessarily be the go-to option even if it works as well as the most expensive one.
7. The Lease Agreement
Some landlords may not allow tenants to make structural changes to their apartments. In such situations, the best options are usually filters that do not require installation at the waterline. If a more permanent system is desired, discussions have to be held with the landlord before installation to avoid conflict later.
8. Universal Connectors
Some filtering systems are not stand-alone, and therefore need to be connected with existing structures in an apartment. Attached faucet filters for example are usually installed on sinks and taps using adaptors. With that in mind, look for systems with universal connectors. This is because they make the setup and installation process fast and easy.
9. Filter Certifications
NSF International and ANSI are popular certifications that verify to clients that manufacturers' water filters function as stated. When a filter is certified to a standard, it has been evaluated by a third party. It is therefore proven to be capable of minimizing a certain contaminant. It's a good idea to seek filters that have at least an NSF 42 chlorine elimination certification.
Apartment-Friendly Water Filteration Systems: What Are They and How Do They Work?
After coming up with a list of the features one is looking for based on the previous considerations, it is then time to look at the available options. This helps to narrow down to the right type of water filter, one that meets all the requirements. Here they are:
Whole-House Filtration Systems
Whole-house water filtration systems filter all the water that enters a home. They make the most sense in apartments with a hard water supply. This is because hard water is hazardous for pipes and water fixtures. Note that they are not ideal when leasing an apartment since they are costly and time-consuming to install. Only go for this one after buying an apartment and want a soft water supply for the entire house.
Just like the name hints, they are usually connected under the sink that supplies a family with drinking water. They are types of point-of-use filters. In this sense, they are placed at the location where they are needed to filter water. They are normally used in conjunction with whole house filtration systems since the latter do not filter out toxins.
They provide rapid access to filtered water in a location where people normally get drinking water, such as the kitchen sink. They work like under-sink filters, only that they are attached to the faucet. Most ordinary sinks can accommodate them, but they won't work with more unusual sink configurations, such as a pull-down faucet with a spray nozzle. They can be set to let unfiltered water pass through for activities like dishwashing, but still filter drinking water.
Countertop Gravity Filters
Countertop water filtration systems redirect water from the sink into a filtration system with its own tap, similar to faucet filters. Some types have to be refilled manually. They tend to be bigger than pitchers but hold more water hence need less regular refilling. Their greatest advantage is that they can be stored anywhere in a home, just like a water dispenser. They also require minimal installation and provide filtered water at any time.
Distillation is an excellent method for removing contaminants completely. Distillers use distillation to separate impurities and pure water. They are also types of countertop filtration systems and are relatively more portable than their counterparts.
To use them, all one has to do is plug them into a water source and outlet. Water is then heated, after which it evaporates and then condenses during the distillation process. It is then collected and all impurities converted to a gaseous form.
Water bottles are also a revolutionary filtration system today. They come with quality water filters and are therefore NSF and ANSI approved. They may filter water as one consumes it or as they fill the water bottle. People who want to drink filtered water in their apartment and on the move could go for this option. Notably, they're also a great alternative to buying water bottles.
It is very important to note that some bottle filter brands are designed to eliminate pollutants from treated water. As such, water from natural sources like creeks and rivers could still contain contaminants even after bottle filtration. Campers and other outdoor enthusiasts would therefore need a filtration system that can eliminate germs and other creatures prevalent in the environment.
1. LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
Staring with the most basic of them is this pro bottle filter. It works on a simple but effective principle: fill the bottle with tap water, then sip through the straw. This pulls the water through a filtering cartridge and delivers clean water to the mouth.
The LifeStraw Go is the most cost-effective apartment filtering alternative. It is available in over 15 different colors and comes in 2 distinct sizes – 22 oz and 1 L. The bottle is made of BPA-free plastic and has been tested to satisfy NSF contaminant-removal requirements.
Speaking of contaminants, this small yet efficient system removes turbidity, organic matter, and chlorine. The cherry o the cake, however, has to be the fact that it removes bacteria and other microorganisms above 99.99%!
Now to the longevity, the LifeStraw Go has a lifespan of 1,000 liters. This means that it will last for as long as 3 years though this is dependent on the frequency of use. This water treatment option is perfect for use in apartments but will also be extremely handy to campers and outdoor enthusiasts.
It is also perfect for people who need to filter one serving of water at a time. People on vacation or those working in offices are dignified examples. In this instance, a water filter water bottle may be the ideal alternative.
- Quite affordable
- A fantastic choice for portability
- 99.9% contaminant removal
- Small water quantities filtered at a time
- Sucking through a straw can be tiring
- Not actually NSF certified
2. PUR Advanced Attachment Faucet
Next on the list is another small yet effective device, the PUR advanced faucet filtration system. Since faucet attachments are the most common choice for people living in apartments, this one is quite popular. It is placed at a kitchen sink faucet or the faucet that is used for drinking water.
It is a compact device with a chrome finish that rhymes with the plumbing of most kitchens. More so, it is a small discrete faucet structure that can be mounted on most faucets to give clean water round the clock. The filtering cartridge of the PUR advanced faucet filtration system has been certified by NSF/WQA.
It is certified in removing chlorine, lead, and some toxins from pesticides. It only works with cold water, and has quite a limiting filtering capacity, standing at 100 gallons, equivalent to 3 months. Luckily, it can be turned on and off easily, when a person wants to fetch drinking water.
- Simple to set up — simply click it into place
- Fast access to clean water
- Heat can destroy the filtration material
- Some sink faucets are incompatible
- Low filtering capacity
3. Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher
It is a small water pitcher that can yield up to 10 cups of filtered water. It measures 11.1 x 10.8 x 5.6 inches and will therefore be placed anywhere on a kitchen counter, cabinet, or dining room. Though small in size, this one is a workaholic.
It can remove up to 270+ pollutants, making it an excellent filter for apartment use. From chlorine to radioactive pollutants, pesticides, PFAs, fluoride, and a myriad of other toxins, it is a dignified filtration system. It is also made of BPA-free plastic which eliminates any chances of re-contamination.
The pitcher is gravity fed, and could take up to 2o minutes to give clean water. As such, it is not convenient for a drink-and-go situation since one has to wait for the water to trickle down. Nonetheless, the 99.99% germ-free water is worth waiting for.
Unfortunately, its glorified filter only lasts 4 months or 100 gallons. This is quite a short lifespan, even though the device itself has a lifetime warranty. People can however by the filers in packs for economies of scale. Notably, it is an affordable option and a terrific choice for people with small apartments or those looking for a filter that won't take up much space.
- Made of BPA-free plastic
- Removes over 270 pollutants
- Quality materials
- Short filer lifespan
- No notification when it is time to change the filter
- Long filtration time
People who are extremely conscious of their interior design should go for this one. It is a tiny, modern, sleek, and efficient distiller. It is ideal for compact flats with a lot of water filtration needs. This is because it has an impressive production rate of 1 gallon in 4 hours. People know it as the system that one needs to generate distilled water in a fraction of the time it normally takes.
It is also quite versatile in that it could be placed anywhere. It does not require a connection to the sink to function. It also takes up as little counter space as possible. To use it, patience is needed since distillation is not an instant process, but rest assured that the water is as pure as it could be.
It removes everything from water hardness to bacteria, chlorine, nitrates, and lead. The Waterwise 4000 Distiller uses electricity to heat water in a boiling chamber where impurities are left. The vapor then travels through the system and into a carafe. This carafe is made of glass and is around 9 x 15 inches.
This distiller is easy to set up, can be placed anywhere near a power source, and is attractive as well. Better yet, it is one of the most noteworthy filtration technologies, alongside reverse osmosis. Moreover, it does not require any installation of a water line.
- The best option for comprehensive filtration
- The setup is simple
- No need to connect to a sink or a water line
- Expensive to buy
- Flat taste of water
- Some healthy minerals are lost after distillation
5. Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter
This one is ideal for big families of up to 6 people. It can generate 2.25 gallons in 1 and a half hours! A cup of filter water will typically be ready within 3 minutes of feeding it with water. Though it's not instant, at least most people can afford to wait for 3 minutes, especially when they learn of the quality of its water.
Looking at the quality of water, the Big Berkey is a perfectionist. It is defined by top-notch efficiency in that it exceeds certification by the NSF and EPA-recognized laboratories. It eliminates arsenic with its arsenic filters as well as fluoride and many other pollutants. It goes far and beyond to remove red food color mechanically as well, which is impressive for a filter of this type.
In simple words, the Big Berkey promises one irresistible thing: pure water. Considering it takes its time to filter, it's not a surprise that the water is that great. To make the most use of it, refill it at night for the next day's drinking water.
The Big Berkey, true to its name, has a large chamber to hold enough water for 6 in a day. It is also large to accommodate the different filters that come with it. As such, replacing the filters can be a bit daunting. This is because they all have different lifespans.
That said, people who opt for the Big Berkey have got to be extra careful in monitoring and replacing the different filters. Luckily, getting them is stress-free since they are all available on Amazon. Note that the Berkey PF-2 Elements are the ones that need to be changed the most, and they can handle 1000 gallons of water before they need to be replaced.
- Simple set-up
- Nearly as comprehensive as a reverse osmosis filter
- Removes fluoride, which is something that most filters can't achieve
- Backed up by private lab tests
- Long life expectancy of 3, 000 gallons
- Takes up quite a lot of side space
- Quite big, so not very portable
- Not NSF certified
Last but not least is yet another impressive if not the most impressive of them all. The AquaTru Countertop RO System has 4 stages of water filtration which include a reverse osmosis filtration system. As such, it has the most thorough contamination removal process available.
Though it is NSF certified to remove 83 pollutants, this system removes hundreds if not thousands of pollutants. Some of these include microbes, chlorine, mercury, lead, and many others. This countertop system weighs 22.9 pounds and measures 18 x 18 x 15 inches. As such, it does not occupy much space and can be used in condos where plumbing changes are restricted.
As mentioned before, it has 4 filtration stages. These include a mechanical and RO pre-filter, the reverse osmosis membrane, and a final activated carbon post-filter. Unlike the previous systems, however, there won't be any confusion since the system notifies owners when it's time to replace a filter through a digital display.
The AquaTru can remove up to 99.9% of total dissolved solids (TDS) and because of its reverse osmosis system, gives wastewater as well. The AquaTru has a 1:4 ratio of produced to wasted water, which makes it more efficient than other reverse osmosis systems.
- NSF certification
- Cartridges last anywhere from 6 to 2 years
- Simple Setup
- Filter change alerts and a digital display
- During the purification process, water is wasted
- Needs electricity to perform
- No remineralizing filter in the holding tank, hence has a lower capacity
Apartment Water Filters - FAQ
1. What system is the best for drinking water for infants?
A reverse osmosis system like that of the AquaTru Countertop RO System would be ideal. Pure water from the Big Berkey would also be ideal. Their water is free of microbes and mineral contamination. It also contains little or no minerals, whose intake may affect young infants.
2. How does a Reverse Osmosis system work?
Reverse osmosis works by increasing the pressure on the salt side of the RO and forcing the water past the semi-permeable RO membrane, leaving practically all of the dissolved salts in the reject stream (about 95 percent to 99 percent).
3. Best Apartment Water Filter For Well Water?
The Berkey is a good one to help remove bacteria and viruses often found in well water.
4. The Most Budget Friendly Apartment Water Filter?
If you are on a budget but still value the benefits of healthy water, we recommend checking out the Pur water faucet filter. The is super easy to use and pretty affordable.