Top Water Filters - Updated December 2017

Our experts reviewed hundreds of water filters and have picked the best 5 available on the market.

Best of the Best

Tap Master TMAFC


APEC Water-USA Top Rated 5-Stage


Best Value

iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System


Aquasana AQ-5300.55 3-Stage


Watts 500313


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Utilizes seven stages of filtration to remove majority of chemicals. Re-introduces minerals lost during filtration. Very thorough filtration system that removes 99% of contaminants in water. Easy installation. Utilizes strong filtration system to cleanse water from debris and matter and maintains a reserve of clean water. Easy to replace filters. Successfully removes chemicals and maintains natural minerals. Basic, simple system that removes harmful chemicals and improves taste. Easy installation.
Utilizes seven stages of filtration to remove majority of chemicals. Re-introduces minerals lost during filtration. Lack of replenished minerals; relatively high cost. Challenging installation process. Limited filtration system. Does not eliminate chemicals, only reduces and leaks often/easily.
The best filtration system due to reintroduction of lost minerals, despite high cost. Highly recommended by consumers and removes high level of contaminants in the water, though does not replenish minerals. Challenging installation process. Utilizes a stronger filtration system (5-step) and maintains a large reserve, but uses a large amount of excess water. A very basic system with limited filtration. The most basic that does not eliminate chemicals, only reduces harmful qualities.

Contenders


The review focuses on water filtration systems that allow for visually appealing placement and provide safe drinking water directly from the tap in your home.

Considerations


Price

The options reviewed are based on quality and maintenance in a range of prices fitting for all possible budgets and preferences.

Features

Typically, in-home water filtration systems come in chrome or stainless steel (general home styles), though other options are available. Systems also have tanks, on-off valves and filter alerts.

Ease of Use/Maintenance

The choices being reviewed are selected based on ease of installation and regular maintenance actions/cost.

Filtering Effectiveness

The best systems remove chemicals, bacteria and contamination while adding and replenishing necessary minerals and maintaining constant water flow.

Price


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Tap Master TMAFC

Out of the five filtration systems reviewed, the Tap Master is the most expensive, ranging from $323 to $330 (depending on Amazon Prime membership). It provides the cleanest water using the most advanced system. Tap Master owners highly recommend the product, especially for those with larger families and small children. The minerals replenished into the water improve the quality greatly, but it may lack in cost concerns for those on a strict budget.

APEC Water-USA Top Rated 5-Stage

The APEC filtration system is priced at $199. Owners showed very positive feedback. APEC systems are produced in the United States, which generates even more support from some consumers. Like the Tap Master, APEC systems can be pricey for those on a budget, but the quality is definitely worth the cost.

iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

For a system this large, the iSpring only comes it slightly under the cost of APEC at a mere $174. The reserve tank and other features more than make up for the seemingly high cost in quality and endurance. Owners provided high praise for the system, though some describe issues with small, occasional leaks.

Aquasana AQ-5300.55 3-Stage

The Aquasana AQ with brushed nickel faucet is priced at $167.99, just a few dollars less than the iSpring filtration system. Though the manufacturer offers three different finishes for the faucet, each comes at a slightly higher price per quality; the chrome faucet is $169.99, while the “oil-rubbed bronze” is $176.96. Owners state that the pre-filtering aspect to prevent clogging is worth the price overall, though for a basic filtration system for consumers on a budget, this may not be worth the expense.

Watts 500313

Watts is the most basic filtration system being reviewed and falls at the cheapest price: $80.99. As described in other features, the basic system does just that: reduces, not removes, the chemicals and contaminants in water. Owners looking for simple systems seem content with the functionality of the product.

Features


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Tap Master TMAFC

One of the best features of the Tap Master is the ability to replenish filtered water with minerals typically lost during filtration; according to the company, this allows the system to last much longer than other filtration systems because it prevents harmful chemicals from destroying the inner workings. The faucet generally is offered in chrome, but comes in a large variety of finish options to match any kitchen appearance.

APEC Water-USA Top Rated 5-Stage

A prominent feature of the APEC filtration system is the automatic shut-off valve that shuts down the system automatically when the reserve tank is full; it prevents unnecessary water waste. Owners’ state that a highly rated quality was that of the noiseless functions; the system runs completely noise-free.

iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

As described earlier, one of the best features of the iSpring is the large reserve tank; it allows for immediate access to filtered water without taking time waiting for the system to process. Like the APEC unit, the iSpring comes with an automatic shut-off valve to prevent the reserve from over-filling and also includes a detector/alarm in the event of a leak or flood. The manufacturer also provides lifetime phone/email support.

Aquasana AQ-5300.55 3-Stage

The Aquasana AQ is one of the more basic filtration systems. However, it stands out due to its performance indicator: an audible alert to change filters. Most systems require inspection to determine proper changing times. The faucet comes in three options for various kitchen appearances (chrome, nickel and bronze).

Watts 500313

The Watts system is the most basic of the 5 reviewed filtration systems. As a basic package, the faucet is only offered in chrome finish. The package comes with two filters, to be installed under the sink, and the faucet. The basic plastic fittings are easy to tighten and attach/detach to change filters (owners state that they can break/crack easily and cause leaks).

Ease of Use/Maintenance


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Tap Master TMAFC

Though Tap Master is one of the more “complicated” installations, new owners claimed it simply took some time; it can be self-installed or through a professional. Maintenance is very low for the Tap Master, as the extent of work required is a simple filter change once a year.

APEC Water-USA Top Rated 5-Stage

According to owners, APEC instructions included with the filtration system provide an easy-install under the kitchen sink; it is described as a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) system. The system comes with quick-connect fittings to assist in easy installation. Owners love the “low maintenance” factor: the three-filter system only needs to be changed once every 6-12 months (once or twice a year) and filters can be purchased in kits or individually.

iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

Unlike the APEC system, iSpring installation is described as much more difficult; the complicated process involves connecting the filtration system and a larger, cumbersome storage tank. One benefit to the iSpring is the ease of access to clean water: the reserve tank allows clean water to be provided immediately, instead of waiting for the water to filter through the system. Filter change is complicated as well, requiring several different filters to be changed at different periods: three are changed every 6 months, one is once a year and the final is every 2 to 3 years. Filters can be purchased individually when needed or all together in one kit.

Aquasana AQ-5300.55 3-Stage

As it is a smaller system, the Aquasana AQ provides for a very simple installation with basic directions included in the packaging. Unlike other systems, the Aquasana AQ includes an audible alert system when a filter requires changing (typically every 6 months); filters themselves are easy to remove and replace.

Watts 500313

Watts is the smallest filtration system out of the five choices reviewed here, which makes for easy DIY installation. The system does not use reverse osmosis (RO) to filter the water and filters must be switched out every 6 months or after use of the total 600 gallon capability. Maintenance can be tricky when it comes to changing filters, as owners explained that re-fitted filters may leak if not tightened enough; however, tightening too much may break the seal and also cause leaks.

Filtering Effectiveness


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Tap Master TMAFC

The Tap Master TMAFC utilizes the most complex and effective form of filtration; the system uses seven stages of filtration to remove up to 98% of chemicals and contaminants in the water while replenishing necessary minerals, like calcium and magnesium, which other filtration systems may lack in replacing. According to the product, water flow is twice as fast as other reverse osmosis (RO) systems.

APEC Water-USA Top Rated 5-Stage

The APEC RO (reverse osmosis) system removes up to 99% of all contaminants in water, including bacteria, heavy metals and arsenic; the system treats all types of water, no matter the source (well, hard or soft, various pressures, etc.). APEC removes odor and taste to provide fresh water, similar to drinking from a bottle.

iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

Much like APEC, the iSpring filtration system uses a five-stage process with a carbon filter that doesn’t just reduce the contaminants in the water, but instead completely removes them. The filter reduces taste and odor, but also reduces necessary minerals without replenishing them.

Aquasana AQ-5300.55 3-Stage

Aquasana AQ utilizes a three-stage filtration process that removes a majority of chemicals, like chlorine and chloramines, but only reduces organic chemicals and heavy metals. Within the three stages, a pre-filter is set to reduce clogging at other levels; less risk of clogging creates a stronger flow.

Watts 500313

As the most basic of the five choices, Watts uses a two-stage filtration system that reduces chemicals, heavy metals and organic material (it does not completely eliminate them), as well as odor and taste. Watts has the capacity to filter up to 600 gallons of water, with a “reasonable” flow rate.

Best of the Best


Though the Tap Master falls at the highest price in the five-reviewed products, overall it shows the best functionality and quality for filtered water. The Tap Master is the most thorough for water filtration, as it not only removes residue and chemicals but also replaces lost minerals that are beneficial to health and water purity. Unlike the other contenders, the Tap Master utilizes the reverse osmosis system to its fullest potential, including replenishment that fails to occur in other systems. The drinkable, usable water is therefore free of chemicals and harmful additives while enhanced by natural minerals. Though expensive, the Tap Master utilizes every aspect of its system to create clear, purified water safe for everyone to drink.

Best Value


As per the five contenders, the iSpring provides both the best consideration for cost and quality value. The iSpring not only reduces but removes a large percentage of chemicals and contaminants in water flow for a fairly reasonable price. Though it does not remove to the extent of the Tap Master, the iSpring maintains high quality clear, drinkable water safe for everyone. The system itself is fairly maintenance-friendly and easy-to-use for any homeowner; it provides basic instructions and manufacturer support for any issues that may arise. Though the cost may seem high, the quality provided is superior to other options for self-installation.