Check out the 10 best whole house water filter reviews of 2017. Make sure you get the perfect system for your home with our buyer’s guide and reviews.
We review the best whole house water filtration systems available right now.
Each comes with overwhelmingly positive feedback, and amazing reviews on Amazon.
Check out the whole house water filter comparison table to see how they compare in the key areas. There are more detailed reviews of each to follow.
Don’t forget to read our top tip on how you can get an awesome 3-stage whole house water filter for less money than you think.
There’s also an amazing buyer’s guide with all the essential information about getting your first home water filter system. Use the links below to jump to the part that interests you most.
1. Top 10 Whole House Water Filtration System Reviews
2. A Guide to Whole House Water Filters
3. Installation Guide
4. How You Can Get an Effective 3-Stage Whole House Filter for Less Than You Think
|Picture||Model||Rating||Max Flow Rate||Price||Positives||Negatives|
|Home Master HMF2SMGCC||4.6||20||$$||Long life filters, good water flow rate, 2 year warranty, effective filtration for city or well water||Filters aren't as cheap as other brands|
|iSpring-WGB22B||4.5||15||$$||High water pressure, long life filters, effective city & well water filtration, 1-year satisfaction guarantee, NSF certified filters||Filters might clog faster than a 3-stage system|
|APEX with Activated Alumina||4.4||10||$$||High fluoride removal, long life filters, good flow rate, NSF approved||Fluoride filters can be expensive|
|Aqua-Pure AP903||4.4||20||$||Really high water pressure, good value, simple to maintain||Only suitable for city water|
|DuPont WFPF13003B||4.4||5||$||A fraction of the price of some other models, cheap filters too||Only one filter stage (can combine multiple units though)|
|Home Master HMF3SDGFEC||4.2||15||$$$$||High water pressure, long life filters, improves water taste and odor, effective removing iron||Filters aren't cheap|
|iSpring WGB32B||4.2||15||$$$||High water pressure, NSF certified filters, long life filters, perfect for city or well water, powerful protection||Need upgraded version to combat heavy metals|
|Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000||3.6||7||$$$$$||Removes 97% of chlorine, long lasting filters, powerful filters, balances pH of water||More expensive than competitors|
|Whirlpool WHELJ1||3.4||6||$$||Automated maintenance system, no filter changes, great value over 10 year life cycle||Not as powerful as some other filters, lower water flow rate|
|Watts WH-LD||4.4||10||$||Really good value, cheap filters||One filtration stage|
The Max Flow Rate is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). This is a measure of how much water a water filter can produce. Larger homes will need a bigger GPM value or there might be a drop in water pressure.
The iSpring WGB32 series of whole house water filters provide a really effective solution to home water contamination. iSpring are well known for their commitment to their customers, and with the WGB32 series they offer a range of water filters to fit a variety of common water problems.
The units are available with a choice of 2 or 3-stages of water filtration. The 3-stage units are the most effective, and offer very strong filtration. However, the cheaper 2-stage units are also very capable water filters, and should offer ample protection in most cases. The 2-stage units are identical in every way to their big brothers, minus the second carbon block filter (more on that later). For the sake of this review, we will mostly focus on the 3-stage systems.
This recently upgraded iSpring range now includes 3 customized water filters to combat specific needs. Each water filter uses the same iSpring 3-stage hardware, but uses a different combination of filters, to target specific water contaminants. They are all effective at reducing up to 95% of chlorine, chloramine, sediment, pesticides, herbicides, rust, industrial solvents, and VOCs, but each model also has a specific talent too. Here’s what the 3 choices look like in more detail:
Filter Stage 1
Filter Stage 2
Filter Stage 3
Best Suited Water
5 Micron Sediment Filter
5 Micron Carbon Block
5 Micron Carbon Block
5 Micron Sediment Filter
5 Micron Carbon Block
Heavy Metal Filter
5 Micron Sediment Filter
5 Micron Carbon Block
Heavy Metal Filter
- Copper & more
The cheaper WGB32B model offers an effective solution to municipal water that is high in levels of chlorine. Its two carbon filters are perfect for removing the chlorine taste and odor. It is certified to reduce up to 95% of chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, VOCs, and other contaminants.
The WGB32BM and WGB32B-PB specialize in the removal of heavy metals and are best suited to well water supplies, which are more commonly affected by these hazardous contaminants. The WGB32BM removes up to 95% of iron, manganese, and arsenic. While the WGB32B-PB raises the bar even further by removing up to 95% of iron and lead too.
As we mentioned before, the three models use the same hardware. In fact, they also use the same stage 1 & 2 filters. The big difference between the three is the choice of stage 3 filter. Filters that deal with heavy metals are more expensive, and this explains the difference in cost throughout the range.
The cheaper 2-stage model is available in 3 choices too. The only difference being that it lacks the 2nd carbon block filter that the stage-3 units have. The 2-stage model is still a very effective filter, and offers slightly better water flow rates, and cheaper running costs.
The iSpring WGB32 series use Big Blue (20″ x 4.5″) filter housings. These accommodate jumbo sized filters that last longer and allow faster water flow. Combined with the 1″input and output ports, this water filter allows a really strong water flow rate of up to 15 gallons per minute.
Using the Big Blue filter housings has another benefit. This filter specification is universal throughout the big manufacturers, which means that you aren’t locked into a specific brand. In fact, you are free to completely customize your filter set-up to suit your specific water problem. If you decide that you want a more effective sediment filter then you are able to buy one from a third party manufacturer. Or, if you feel you are paying too much for your filters then you can simply try another brand. I love the options that this iSpring range gives. They’re adaptable and flexible to fit any situation or budget.
The iSpring brand filters that are supplied with the unit are said to last around a year at a time (but this really depends on how bad your water is and how much water you use). These are NSF certified, meaning that you can rely on them to protect your home. These iSpring systems also come with a Water Quality Association Gold Seal to prove their effectiveness under independent testing.
The WGB32 series come with iSpring’s incredible 1-year money back guarantee. iSpring also offer some of the best US based customer service in the business, and give lifetime support as standard with their products.
Bottom Line: We love this series of water filters. With both NSF and WQA certificates they are some of the most effective whole home water filters out there. Taking into consideration the effectiveness, cost, ease of maintenance, reputation, and customer care, it’s hard to deny that iSpring make some of the best water filters around.
Like the iSpring series we mentioned previously, these Home Master filter systems also come in a few different styles. Home Master make some amazing RO water filters, and these whole home units impressed us too.
There is a choice of 2 or 3-stages of water filtration. The 3-stage stage system is more effective and more expensive. The two stage models offer a faster water flow rate, and cheaper running costs. There is also a choice of two different 2-stage models. There’s the chlorine specialist model, that is perfect for city water, and the catalytic carbon model which is great for removing heavy metals like lead, mercury, and copper.
This water filter really stands out in two areas: it allows high water pressure, and it is really low maintenance. It uses larger size filters which mean more water can pass over them faster. This means effective filtration and a fast water flow. In fact, if you combine this with the fact it uses 1 inch ports, you have among the strongest water flow rates available (up to 20 GPM with the 2-stage carbon version).
These jumbo filters also have the added benefit of not needing to be changed very often. In fact, changes might not need to be made for a whole year. These filters cost a little more more, but also last longer than the average water filter. Let’s look more closely at the 3-stage system model. Each filtration stage performs a specific task.
The Home Master is really effective, and will filter down to 1 micron. This level of filtration is among the best we have seen for a whole home filtration system. It is especially effective at filtering iron and heavy metals from water, which makes it perfect for well water supplies. Though, the 2-stage carbon model is excellent for city water too.
It comes with a two year limited warranty, and also a choice of filter stages. If you are in need of even more water pressure, then check out the two stage version.
This water filter reviews really well on Amazon and comes recommended by many happy customers. It is dependable, robust, and effective.
Bottom Line: An amazing choice of top filters. If the iSpring range doesn’t do it for you, then these Home Master systems deserve serious consideration. One micron of filtration power is among the best available in a whole house unit.
The Aquasana Rhino provides a great level of protection against harmful contaminants, while not hurting the wallet as much as the initial cost might suggest. While the initial cost is more than others, its running costs are competitive.
It meets and even exceeds NSF standards by removing up to 97% of chlorine for 1,000,000 gallons. It also removes contaminants like lead, mercury, herbicides, pesticides and VOCs. Unlike other whole home filtration systems it is also able to address the pH level of the water, to improve the taste and make it more alkaline and healthy. It improves the pH of the drinking water by redressing any imbalances that may have occurred during the filtration process. This is feature is more commonly seen in reverse osmosis systems and is rare for a whole home unit.
Though the initial price tag seems expensive, over the course of 10 year life it gives quite good value. The replacement filters are much cheaper than rival filters. With cheaper running costs, this model isn’t as expensive over a period of time as the initial price might suggest.
This model gives among the best protection that we have seen for a whole home system. A water filter’s effectiveness is judged on how refined its filters are. The better a filter, the lower the micron rating it has (a micron is a unit of length equal to one millionth of a meter). For example, a 10 micron filter will only allow particles smaller than 10 microns to pass through. A 1 micron filter would be deemed more effective than this because it allows only particles smaller than 1 micron through.
The Aquasana Rhino really stands out in this area when compared to rival competitors. The main reason is the effectiveness of its post-filter. Rated at 0.35 microns, it offers excellent protection against contaminants with some of the smallest particle sizes. There are aren’t many whole house filters that can compare with this level of protection. A further reason is its specialization in chlorine removal from the water supply. Chlorine is one of the most common contaminants in our water, and to be able to remove more than 97% is an impressive return.
Let me qualify my previous statement by saying that this water filter is one of the most effective for homes supplied by municipal water. It is perfect for getting rid of contaminants like chlorine, but it wouldn’t be suited to well water that is high in heavy metals. In this situation, go for the iSpring or Home Master.
Bottom Line: This is the perfect system for removing chlorine. It has the most refined filter we have seen, and it is a great fit for municipal water. There are plenty of installation options that include water softeners and UV filters too. The initial cost is significant, but the running costs are very reasonable.
The Aqua-Pure AP903 removes sediment, chlorine, rust, and dirt. It’s a very popular choice for homes served by municipal water supplies due its effectiveness in reducing chlorine levels. It will filter down to 5 microns in particle size, which is a good return for a whole home device.
A real bonus with this unit is that it requires only one filter change a year or every 100,000 gallons. This makes it a very low maintenance solution to water contamination. It doesn’t have a pre-filter, which means it isn’t best suited to water that has high levels of sediment or heavy metals (like well water). However, it works very well for homes served by municipal supplies. Taking into consideration the initial cost and the yearly filter change, this is one of the cheaper systems to run.
The AP903 allows the fastest water flow rate we have encountered for a whole house system. This figure of 20 GPM means you won’t notice any drop in pressure after installation. This is ideal for large homes with multiple bathrooms, or high water demands. Its slim design makes it ideal for small spaces too.
Bottom Line: This is a really low maintenance system that can be left to fend for itself for a whole year at a time. If water pressure is important to you then this model is worth serious consideration. It’s great for fixing a problem with chlorine too.
A great low maintenance solution to chlorine in the water supply. It’s not a heavy duty filter, but it’s becoming popular due to its automated system. It can be relied upon to automatically flush itself (equivalent of a filter change) at regular intervals. Using the digital controls you can set a time interval for it to perform its routine maintenance. Depending on the water quality this can range from every week to every month. This means that you don’t have to get your hands dirty changing filters, as it does the job itself. The unit is built to last for 10 years, so it really does represent good value.
There are various different costs to consider when deciding which is the overall best value system. Some models have a larger start-up cost, but then need few or cheaper filter changes. Others, seem cheap initially, but have expensive filter replacements. To judge these whole house water filtration systems on an even playing field, we have estimated their cost over a 10 year period. We have taken the initial cost, and the average filter life and cost, to give a figure which we believe represents the true expense of the water filter.
Based on our criteria of judging a system’s cost over a 10 year period, this whole house water filter works out at being one of the cheapest ones to run. It doesn’t need to have filters replaced, it just requires to be flushed every couple of weeks. This means our calculation was very easy. Its initial retail cost is the only expense, bar a small electricity charge. Whirlpool give the unit a 10 year or 1,000,000 gallon lifespan, so the initial outlay is the combined cost for 10 years.
Bottom Line: Great value combined with low maintenance. An effective chlorine filtration system.
This filter uses activated alumina, which means it specializes in the removal of fluoride. Not many whole house filters have this feature, so if fluoride is a problem then this is worth a look at. In fact, this is the only high quality whole house filter we are aware of that targets this problem. Otherwise, reverse osmosis water filtration systems are a better option.
The system consists of three filtration stages:
Stage 1: a 5 micron sediment and rust filter.
Stage 2: a multi-stage layer that includes a 1 micron filter, a granular activated carbon system, and activated alumina. This stage removes fluoride, chlorine, arsenic and other heavy metals from the water.
Stage 3: an NSF approved coconut shell carbon filter. This absorbs chlorine, chloramine, THM and TCE
The filters are jumbo size, and the household water pressure drop is minimal. It’s really easy to install too. A downside is the cost of the filter packs, which are more expensive than some competitor’s. With three filter stages though, it offers a really good level of protection down to 1 micron.
Bottom Line: This unit combats a really wide range of contaminants. If fluoride is a worry then this model deserves serious consideration. It’s a really effective whole house unit.
This is the cheapest whole house water filter we have looked at by some margin. It retails at just a fraction of the cost of some other models. However, it does lack the features or multiple filter stages that they offer.
But, multiple units can be combined to offer multi-stage protection. A nice feature is that it will take most 10 inch size filters. This means that you can add a carbon filter, or any other filter of that size. The DuPont brand filters are cheap, and retail at just a few dollars each. This isn’t the most effective water filter on the market, but it will do a great job as a sediment, iron, and dirt filter. If you need something a bit more powerful then you can add extra units, and use filters with a better rating. The customization options are a great reason to go with this model.
Bottom Line: As cheap as it gets, this gives amazing value. If one stage of filtration isn’t enough you can just combine 2 or 3 units.
This model is another that is relatively inexpensive. There is a trade-off though, and you only get one stage of filtration. This water filter will do a great job as a sediment, rust, and dirt filter. It would also work perfectly as a pre-filter to an existing unit, or offer good protection to a water softener.
Like the DuPont model we featured earlier, this unit can be combined with others to make a more effective filter. This unit will protect your home against larger contaminant particles like iron and sediment, but it won’t protect against chlorine.
Bottom Line: An effective sediment filter for household appliances.
We promised an alternative solution to having a highly effective whole house water filtration system in your home, and here it is. There’s no secret here, it’s just not everyone is aware of this, or they don’t have the necessary DIY skills to install it.
Having a three stage filter system can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. With our proposal you can save yourself a lot of money, but you will need some basic DIY skills.
Our solution has all the necessary components of a highly effective water filter, but costs about 1/2 the price of the market leader.
It includes a robust sediment filter to protect and prolong the life of the other filters. An effective polypropylene filter that tackles the harmful smaller contaminants, and a refined carbon filter that improves the water taste and odor.
In our opinion, the filter configuration that we have included offers a good level of contaminant protection. But, it is easily changed too. Filters that specialize in the removal of fluoride and arsenic are also available in this size (20″ x 4.5″).
Anyway, our suggestion is simple. Buy three separate filter housings and combine them to make a 3-stage system. You have the same protection that an expensive three stage system offers, but at a much reduced price. The only problem is that the installation takes more time and is a little harder. Check out our guide to installation below to see how to do it yourself.
What you need:
3 x Filters
Stage 2: 1 micron polypropylene filter
Stage 3: Carbon filter
Another option is to add water pressure meters before and after each filter. This will identify any loss in pressure, and also help to notify you of when it is time to change filters. If there is a significant drop in pressure, then it is time to change the filter.
There is actually an even cheaper alternative. Instead of using the Pentek filter housings, you can use the Dupont brand. These filters are not as big, and therefore not as long lasting, and will not allow as high a water pressure as the Pentek solution does, but the initial cost will be really cheap.
So, what are the advantages of the Pentek solution?
What about the drawbacks?
Bottom Line: This 3-stage whole house system offers all the perks of a system twice as expensive. It’s customizable to your specific water problem, and offers a range of installation options. It takes a bit more work to install, but it brings big savings with it.
Best Budget Choice
Whole House System
- Great Value
- NSF Certifed
- Cheap Filters
Our Top Pick
3-Stage Whole House System
- NSF Certified
- High Water Pressure
- Long Life Filters
- Reliable & Effective
Next Best Thing
Home Master HMF3SDGFEC
3-Stage Whole House System
- Effective at Removing Iron
- Durable Filters
- Easily Maintained
- High Water Pressure
Whole house water filter installation is a bit more difficult than installing most other methods of water filtration. But, don’t let that put you off, because with a little guidance you can do it yourself in just a couple of hours.
You will need some tools and some basic DIY skills, but using our installation guide we’re confident that installing one of these systems won’t be the impossible mission that many believe it to be.
If you’re still not convinced, then Amazon have recently introduced professional installation as an option with most of their water filter products. Or alternatively, contact your local plumber.
We’ll start by talking you through the process. There’s a list of things you will, and some step by step instructions. This kind of thing is sometimes better to watch in action than be explained though, so we’ve included the two best installation videos that we could find. They follow the instructions below.
Anyway, here’s our guide to installing whole house water filters:
What You Will Need:
Note: The bypass valve, pressure gauges, and shut-off valves are all optional. They make the installation slightly harder, but provide benefits.
Bypass valve – by bypassing the filters you can use unfiltered water for certain tasks. This will help prolong the life of the filters.
Shut-off valve – these make life much easier when it comes to changing the filters. If you don’t install a shut-off valve then you will have to shut the water off at the main supply. It’s much less messy with the valve.
Pressure gauges – by monitoring the input and output pressure, you will know when the best time to change filters is. When the drop in pressure passes 15 psi then it’s time to change those filters. You could go one further and install gauges between each filter stage. This would show exactly which filter needs changed.
These are our two favorite videos that show how to install a whole home system:
A whole house water filter system is typically defined as a point of entry (POE) system. A POE system is commonly installed at the front of the water heater, and cleanses both the hot and cold water. This means that purified water is delivered to every faucet in the home. Doing so ensures that every device in your home that needs water is supplied with clean, decontaminated water. Showers, baths, sinks, washing machines, refrigerators, and toilets can all work unimpeded by any pollutants, and more importantly, be safer and healthier to use.
There are many reasons as to why a whole house water filter system might be a good fit for your home, but here at waterfilteranswers.com we pride ourselves on providing balanced articles and information, so we’ll make sure to tell you why it might not be the right system for you too. Let’s start with the reasons supporting a whole house system.
As alluded to earlier, a POE system will provide purified water at every output point in the home. We know the dangers of drinking contaminated water, but why purify the water that you wash with?
Well, the main reason is chlorine. Chlorine is a chemical added to our water supply to kill bacteria, but in large quantities it can be very dangerous to our health. It also has the effect of damaging, and excessively drying our skin. We can be exposed to chlorine in many ways, mainly through drinking and eating, breathing in fumes, and absorbing it through the skin from water and air. These causes of chlorine exposure can be dramatically reduced by installing a whole house water filter. By filtering the water that we wash and bathe with we can reduce the amount of chlorine that we absorb through water. This means healthier, more moisturized skin and hair. This also means cleaner and healthier air too, as contaminated water can have an effect on air quality at home. Chlorine and volatile organic chemicals can evaporate in bath and shower steam, polluting the air that you breath in your own home. A POE system would make sure this was a thing of the past.
Aside from the health benefits, there are other reasons to choose a whole house filter over say a point of use (POU) reverse osmosis system (a point of use system is usually installed under the sink). A whole house system offers really high capacity and water production rates. A reverse osmosis system might produce around 50 gallons of clean water per day, but a whole house water filter can exceed rates of 20 gallons per minute! This high capacity and volume make POE systems very durable and relatively maintenance free. A unit might require filter changes just once every 7 years. On the other hand, a reverse osmosis filter would need filter changes every 6-12 months.
In the interests of balance, it’s important that we give every side to the argument. While there are many good reasons to get a whole house filter system, there are also a few reasons why it might not be a good fit for your home. The first would be the cost. These systems can be expensive when compared to other processes of water filtration. That being said, a POE system like this provides other dimensions to its protection (it filters bathing water too). A second reason for not getting one of these systems is that they just aren’t as effective as reverse osmosis systems. A reverse osmosis membrane typically provides filtration up to 0.0001 microns. This means that particles bigger than this will not pass through. A whole house water filter typically has a less effective filter of 1-10 microns, meaning that it is not as effective at removing pollutants. Only reverse osmosis technology removes up to 99% of contaminants. Some water is just not in need of such stringent filtration, and it therefore makes it important that you know the quality of your initial water and specifically what pollutants you need to remove.
As previously discussed, the two systems (whole house and RO) differ in that one filters all of the water for a home, and one filters at just a single point. If you have no specific issues or special contamination worries, then a whole house filter is a good fit. It provides a solid multi-purpose filter for the whole house. It is a good all-rounder, trouble-free, and easy to look after. By treating contaminants at the point of entry, it is especially good at removing orange or brown staining, due to iron in the water supply. This also does the job of protecting pipes and appliances in the home.
Once making the decision to purchase a whole house water filter, you should concentrate on the following areas:
1. The type of system – it should be noted that there are two different types of whole house water filter. The most effective is the heavy duty system. This has long life filters that might only need changing every 5 years (see Aquasana Rhino). These systems are also the most efficient, and require the least maintenance. The less heavy duty kind of whole house filter uses a water filter cartridge (see iSpring WKB32B). These filters will need to be changed every 6-12 months. This system has the benefit of having customizable filter options. This means a combination of filter types can be arranged to target a specific problem with the water. This arrangement is ideal should you be worried about a particular pollutant in your water.
2. Micron rating – the effectiveness of a whole house filter is a measured by the size in microns of its filter rating. A micron is a unit of measurement which is equal to one thousandth of a millimeter or one 25th of a thousandth of an inch. A model that has a filter rating of 1 micron will therefore stop any particle of a size bigger than this from traveling any further. The best water filter system rating (whole house) we have seen for one of these water filters is 0.35 microns (Aquasana Rhino), but it is generally between 1-5 microns. Reverse osmosis systems offer even more filtering power, but are generally used at one faucet point. According to its effectiveness at filtering, reverse osmosis is the best water filtration system.
3. Water flow rate – this is the value given to the amount of water a system can produce in a given time. It is measured in gallons per minute (GPM) and can range from around 5-25 GPM. If you own a big house, full of lots of people then make sure you get a system that is capable of keeping up with the water demands. If the GPM value isn’t large enough then you run the risk of the water pressure dropping.
4. Filter cost and lifespan – the initial cost of the system should not be your only consideration when calculating a systems true cost. Over time you will probably buy a lot of replacement water filters too. Make sure you have an idea of how much they cost, and how often you will need to replace them. A system with a cheaper initial cost may use filters that don’t last long. This will cost you more in the long term.
|Low maintenance||Not as effective as RO|
|High capacity||More expensive|
|High water pressre|
|Cleanses all household water|
In conclusion, the most important thing to take away from this article is that you should be aware of the quality of your water supply before purchasing a water filter system. Contact your local water supplier, or test for yourself to make sure you know specifically what the problem is. Different types of water filter fit different situations and scenarios, and it’s important that you make the right choice. Large particle contaminants are best treated with a whole house system, while reverse osmosis is better for smaller particles like pesticides.
Update: Consumer Confidence Reports (CRC) are now available on the EPA website. These are annual drinking water quality reports from your local supplier.
If you have any questions about water filters or then please don’t hesitate to get in contact at the bottom of the page. We’ll get back to you promptly and do our best to help.
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