The Best Pure Water Filter For You: Filtration Technology

water being poured in a glass

Nowadays it seems like before you even think about pouring yourself a cold glass of water, you have to know the water’s source and what could be lingering, sight unseen, in the waterbed or pipes. Filtration technology has developed rapidly, perhaps too rapidly, and it can be overwhelming to figure out what’s the best filter for you. Luckily, enough information is available online that with a little research, you can feel confident in your choice of a water filter.

Why Is it Important To Choose the Right Filter Technology?

Knowing what want contaminants you want to remove is the best first step to know what type of filter you need. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also runs a website where you can quickly browse surveys and reports about your local water supply. This website is an invaluable resource to determine what water filter works best for you.

The EPA provides another great resource to look at once you find out what contaminants, common and uncommon, are in your water systems. This webpage lists many microorganisms, chemicals (organic and inorganic), disinfectants, and radioactive material that could be hiding in your drinking water. You’ll also be able to find the long-term health effects and sources for each lurking contaminant.

A final piece of the water filtration puzzle, double check any water filter to make sure it’s NSF-certified. If you find a product branded with NSF certification, make sure the certification mentions the contaminant you’re looking to remove. Many filters receive this accreditation for solely improving the taste or smell of water. While NSF International is a well-known and deeply trustworthy company, its certifications are precise and must be thoroughly read.

The Filter Types You Need To Know

There are many types of filters, and each uses a unique combination of filtration technologies to keep your water clean:




In-Line Refrigerator



Separate Tap


6 Types of Filter Technologies

While simpler filters may utilize only one technology, more complicated filters harness multiple technologies to maximize their shielding against contaminants.

Best To Remove Fluoride

Activated Alumina aSORB 1/8″ Bead

  • aSORB 1/8″ Bead Activated Alumina – 32oz Bottle
  • aSORB is effective as a desiccant in compressed air dryers; water…
  • Package Size: 1 x 32oz Bottle


Activated alumina water filters are tiny, porous pellets made from a gem-like mineral. The many holes help maximize surface area, creating lots of space to attract and extract fluoride from water. In practical use, the filtration system will typically include an activated alumina cartridge that will need to be replaced somewhat regularly.


  • Easy installation

  • Inexpensive maintenance

  • At normal acidity can remove up to 95 percent of all fluoride


  • Typically require manual filter replacement

  • Much shorter shelf life if water is alkaline

  • Only filters out fluoride, selenium, and arsenic

Top-Rated Activated Alumina Water Filter

APEX MR-3020 Whole House GAC Water Filter System with Activated…

  • 20″ polypropylene sediment pre-filter extracts suspended materials…
  • Multi-stage 20″ filter that consists of 1 micron filter pad, Activated…
  • NSF approved, acid washed, high performance coconut shell activated…


This filter has three stages of filtration, of which activated alumina is one, to remove debris, minerals, heavy metals, and chlorine.


The other two included filters are a 5-micron filter to block small debris, such as dirt or dust particles, and a granular activated carbon one to remove chlorine.

Our Verdict:

The Least Expensive Pure Water Filter

Carbon Filters

carbon filter

Carbon filters are very popular due to their versatility. In fact, they come in three different forms, allowing them to deploy in numerous ways, from a water bottle to a showerhead.

1. Granular Activated Charcoal or Carbon Filters

Carbon Filters

Unlike the other two types of carbon filters, granular activated charcoal or carbon filters are not solid blocks. Instead, the carbon or charcoal is grounded into fine dust, allowing the particles to couple with potential contaminants, making them easier to filter.


  • Improves the smell of water

  • Effectively removes chlorine

  • Low installation cost and inexpensive maintenance


  • Does not remove heavy metals or nitrates

  • Filters need manual replacement

  • Depending on the speed of water running through the filter, can be less effective than other carbon filters

Top-Rated Granular Activated Carbon Filter

Eco Shower Filter with 2 Cartridges + Shower Curtain, for Adult Baby…

  • 【 BLOCKS CHLORINE AND SEDIMENTS】: With the power of Activated…
  • 【PROTECTS SENSITIVE HAIR, SKIN & NAILS】: Reduces dandruff, dry…
  • 【IMPROVES RESPIRATION】: Can help Reduce the risk of Allergies,…


The CaptainEco shower filter offers 10 stages of filtration. It also includes a physical barrier to help block dirt particles and sediment.


The filters offer a longer than typical lifetime.

Our verdict: 

Purenex 4C 4 Block Activated Carbon 5 Micron Water Filters

  • 4 of Block Activated Carbon filters
  • Micron rating: 5 Micron
  • Dimensions: 9.75″ x 2.5″

Solid block activated carbon, also known as carbon blocks, are carbon particles pressed together to form blocks. These blocks maximize surface area, forcing more water to come in contact with the carbon. Like all carbon or charcoal filters, this technology helps reduce odor, increase taste, and remove chlorine.


  • Affordable with easy installation

  • Best way to block organic chemicals

  • Effective at removing parasites and bacteria


  • Can be fairly simple, particularly when used in pitchers

  • Does not remove fluoride

  • Not as effective with inorganic chemicals, such as nitrites or arsenic

Top-Rated Solid Block Activated Carbon Filter

WaterChef C7000 Premium Countertop Water Filtration System with…

  • Powerful BIG BLOCK Filtration Technology for Superior Contaminant…
  • Filter More and Spend Less – Huge 1,000 GALLON Capacity! (Just ONE…
  • Tested & Certified by NSF International for Trusted Performance -…


This countertop filter combines multiple filters, most noticeably a carbon block one, with smart technology. Simple to use and operate.


Lifetime warranty and requires no tools for installation. Its real-time Intelligent Monitor will gauge your water usage and let you know when the filter needs replacement.

Our Verdict: 

Pentek CFB-PLUS10BB Fibredyne Modified Carbon Block 5 m Filter

  • The Fibredyne CFB-Plus10BB big blue water filter cartridges are an…
  • CFB-Plus series products are modified molded blocks manufactured using…
  • The result is a single cartridge that combines the benefits of both a…

Fibredyne block filters are very similar to regular carbon blocks. However, their proprietary technology aids in removing dirt, rust, and sediment from water.


  • Large surface area means better filtration

  • Increased effectiveness in removing odors than standard carbon blocks

  • Higher capacity for blocking sediment


  • Can restrict the flow of water

  • Filters will need to be manually replace

Top-Rated Fibredyne Filter

Pentek CFB-PLUS10BB Fibredyne Modified Carbon Block 5 m Filter (Pack…

  • The Fibredyne CFB-Plus10BB big blue water filter cartridges are an…
  • CFB-Plus series products are modified molded blocks manufactured using…
  • The result is a single cartridge that combines the benefits of both a…


Proprietary Fibredyne technology enhances typical carbon block filer while adding additional sediment defense.


Blocks twice as much sediment as a carbon block filter and doubles the reduction of sulfurous odor chemicals. In fact, this specific model shields your drinking water from more residue than any other filter on the market.

Our Verdict:

Most Dependable Water Filter

Ceramic Water Filter Kit with TWO Filters

  • 0.2 micron filtration efficiency up to 28 gallons per day!
  • Do it yourself- buckets not included
  • Will filter out everything from giardia from a clear mountain stream…


Ceramic filters often include elements of silver, a natural antibacterial agent. These filters primarily use many microscopic pores to block out sediment and other debris


  • Super easy installation

  • Very long lifetimes

  • Effectively removes bacteria


  • Reduces the flow of water

  • Not effective against inorganic chemicals

Top-Rated Ceramic Filter

Ceramic Dome Replacement Filter for Zen Water Systems

  • Replaces your Zen Water Systems Ceramic Dome Filter
  • Keeps dirt, sand, particles and bacteria such as typhoid, cholera and…
  • Pore diameter of 0.2 micron while most bacteria range from 0.5 to 1.0…


Inexpensive, practical, and easily transportable.


Its pores are small enough to block inorganic compounds and bacteria. This filter can last for over 400 gallons worth of water.

Our Verdict:

Best Water Filter for Backpacking

Kikar Outdoor Water Filter Hollow Fiber Water Purifier perfect for…

  • – Removes 99.99% of harmful bacteria like coli, bacillus, legionella…
  • – Filters Most Harmful Contaminants. Removes debris and particles for…
  • – Compact, easy to use water filter in form of tube, which purifies…


Fiber filters are filled with hundreds of tiny tubes, each dotted with even more miniscule pores. As water forces its way through the filter, debris, viruses, and bacteria are trapped, unable to escape those microscopic holes, while clean water escapes.


  • Due to the high surface area, water filters quickly

  • Easy-to-tell gauge when the filter needs changing or cleaning

  • Favored by backpackers and outdoor types


  • For larger systems, initial set up can be expensive

  • Filters need frequent replacement

Top Rated Fiber Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and…

  • Award-winning LifeStraw water filter is a must-carry tool for hiking,…
  • Filters up to 1000 liters of contaminated water without iodine,…
  • Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne…


A travel-friendly “straw” that is useful in a variety of situations, including emergency one.


Easy to use. All you need is a water source to drink, and even if it’s a dirty puddle, you’ll heave clean water in no time. Due to its design, it’s easy to tell when the filter needs replacing.

Our Verdict:

The Most Effective Pure Water Filter

Express Water Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System – NSF…

  • The easiest change for a healthier life – Experience what water should…
  • Exactly what you need – Drink the healthiest water on Earth. All our…
  • Don’t waste money on professional installation – Our quick and easy…


Effective at blocking what carbon cannot, like nitrates or fluoride, reverse osmosis is a process through which the water flow forces your tap water through a semi-permeable membrane. This membrane only allows particles the size of water molecules through, keeping water clean and clear.


  • Effective at removing inorganic chemicals

  • Typically combined with activated carbon for even better filtration


  • Very inefficient, can use up to 20 times as much water than it produces

  • Significant variance in quality between systems

Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis…

  • Purity You Need with the Minerals You Want – restores natural calcium…
  • Exceptional Purification – removes up to 98-percent of chemicals,…
  • Filter element and the filter housing are all-in-one modular assembly…


With seven filtration stages and long-lasting filters, Home Master’s system is installed underneath the sink and produces clean, great tasting water.


Despite its size, this system is easy to install, and its remineralization process adds calcium and magnesium back into your drinking water.

Our Verdict:

Best To Remove Bacteria

Reverse Osmosis Ultraviolet Water Filter System UV Sterilizer RO 6…

  • Powerful 6 stage water filtration system. This RO system has an UV…
  • This System Has All The Extras + Booster Pump + Pressure Gauge +…


Employing ultraviolet (UV) lights, these filtration systems kill bacteria without remorse. However, they are utterly ineffective against inorganic chemicals.


  • Destroys up to 99.99 percent of microorganisms

  • No filters to replace

  • Super-fast water flow


  • If the water source is dirty or colored in any way, the UV lights will not be effective

  • Not effective against inorganic compounds

Top-Rated Ultraviolet Water Filter

HQUA-OWS-6 Ultraviolet Water Purifier Sterilizer for Whole House, 6GPM…

  • 25W 6GPM UV unit, 22.8*2.5 in stainless steel chamber, 1/2” (DN15 OD…
  • Easy installation, No plumber needed. Horizontal installation and…
  • NO CHLORINE, Chemical Free and Environmentally Friendly. No change at…


A plumbed-in filtration system with 9000 hours of ultraviolet light life and easy installation, HQUA sits at the head of its class.


Cost-effective, especially for a system that protects all water coming into the house, this filter will destroy up to 99.99 percent of all viruses and bacteria it encounters. You’ll be able to install it by yourself or with minimal help from a handyman.

Our Verdict:

Wrapping Up

There’s nothing more powerful than making an informed decision that protects your health, as well as the health of your family members. Using the information collected here, you should be able to determine not only what type of water filtration system you need, but the technologies necessary to rid your water of nasty contaminants. Once you know what you need, take a look at our top-rated systems and drink your water safe in the knowledge that you’ve made the best choice to protect your home.

Hi I'm Jamie, teacher and owner/chief contributor at We strive to bring you the most informative water filter reviews in the most intuitive and user friendly way. Besides offering advice on the water filter to suit your needs, we also post topical articles on water pollution and the environment. Stay connected and follow us on, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more!

1 Comment
  1. I have well water with a water softener & water filter with a single 5 micron filter cartridge just before the water softener. The water is good for normal household usage but I need a source for use in a humidifier. I am presently buying drinking water from a drinking water machine in a super market. I want to possibility get a faucet type sediment to use for humidifier only. The humidifier is Honeywell HEV685W that uses about 3 gals. per. 24 Hrs. The filters for the humidifier are HC14V1 that do not last more than 2 weeks with the normal household water!
    The water test, direct from well, is 100 ppm. hardness: chlorine = 0: Alkalinity = 180: PH = 6.6: Nitrite = .5: Nitrate 5: Copper = .6: Iron = .5: T.D.S = 210
    The water test for the soften water is same except hardness is now 0: salt = 15 ppm: T.D.S = 225
    Is there a faucet filter that will remove most of T.D.S? This option would be most cost efficient due to labor costs.
    Another possible solution would be to use water direct from well & a cartridge type filter to remove various sediments!
    Please review & make suggestions!

Leave a reply