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Best Whole House Water Filters

To find the best whole house water filter, we reviewed:
  • 1. Filtration Type
  • 2. Filter Capacity
  • 3. Flow Rate
  • 4. Housing
  • 5. Price
  • 6. Certification
The best whole house water filters featuring a guy in a REthority shirt standing in front of a few samples of these units

Disclaimer: REthority is supported by ads and participation in affiliate programs. We may earn a commission when you click our links. The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal or financial advice.

Best Whole House Water Filters

1. AquaOx Filtration System
2. Aquasana OptimH20
3. Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter
4. SpringWell Whole House Water Filter System
5. Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN
6. iSpring WGB21B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
7. Culligan WH-HD200-C Whole House Filtration System

Whole house water filters help improve your skin and hair, and ensure your clothes retain their brightness longer. And purifying your water at the point of entry ensures that you get chlorine and contaminate-free water throughout your house.

We put together this review of the best seven whole house filters on the market. Then, we ranked these systems based on filtration type, filtration capacity, flow rate, housing, certification, and price. Ready to jump in? Let’s get started.

Best Overall

AquaOx, the best whole house Water Filtration System

AquaOx Filtration System

The best water filter for households seeking the best filtration possible.

If you have severely compromised city water, this AquaOx offers a seven-stage filtration process. This self-cleaning point of entry eliminates manual maintenance on your part.

Thanks to the backwash technology, you don’t need to bother with changing filters. The system comes with a seven-year warranty and has an average lifespan of up to 20 years.

Overall Score: 28/30

Filtration Type: 5/5

You will have a hard time finding more filtration than this AquaOx. The seven-stage filtration process includes pre-sediment filtration in the first stage. Next, the KDF 55 and KDF 85 media remove heavy metals such as lead and mercury, and hydrogen sulfide.  

The garnet stage removes solids while the catalytic absorptive carbon takes care of chloramines, chlorine, and VOCs. With an activated coconut shell carbon media and AG filters to complete the filtration process, this is the most feature-rich unit on our list.

Filtration Capacity: 5/5

You won’t have to worry about changing filters for the next 20 years. This system purifies up to two million gallons of water, more than twice that of the nearest competitors.

Flow Rate: 5/5

AquaOx offers a 15 GPM flow rate, which is suitable for up to four bathrooms. You may use it for a larger home if you don’t have a high water requirement during peak times. The flow rate is particularly impressive given this system’s contact time and seven-step filtration process.

Housing: 5/5

We loved the durable, heavy-duty stainless steel housing.

Certification: 4/5

Although this water filter has been featured on Forbes, TED, and FOX Business, we would have loved to see actual NFS certification. We don’t doubt this product’s claims, but it’s good to have an independent tester’s backing.

Price: 4/5

Some people might think that AquaOx is expensive. However, you don’t have to buy costly water filters every so often. Some of these filters cost upwards of $40, and you have to change them every six months. We believe the cost justifies itself for 20 years of worry and maintenance-free filtration.

Second-Best

Aquasana OptimH20

A solid performer from a well-known brand.

Aquasana is a reliable brand, and this OptimH20 is a perfect option for moderate to severe contamination issues. Although recommended, you do not need to use a plumber to install the filtration system.

The easy-to-follow instruction and quick installation mean you’ll have purified drinking and household-use water in no time. We especially recommend this system for water supplies with high levels of lead.

Overall Score: 27/30

Filtration Type: 5/5

This Aquasana OptimH20 uses 0.5-micron ultra-dense carbon block filters to remove up to 99-percent of chlorine and chloramines, 99.62 of lead, cryptosporidium, parasites, and more than 50 other contaminants.

The system also comes with a pre-filter to prolong the life of your carbon block filter. You have the option to include a descaler and UV disinfection stage to your unit for full-spectrum protection.

Filtration Capacity: 4/5

This is a 100,000-gallon unit, which should last you six to twelve months before you need to change the filter. Aquasana uses patented technology to replace filters quickly and easily. You do not need any tools. The system also has an LED warning light to alert you when it’s time to change the filter.

Flow Rate: 4/5

This OptimH2O has an 8 GPM flow rate. This flow rate should be sufficient for your typical water demands. You may experience a slight drop in water pressure during peak hours in a large household. Otherwise, the system works well for small to medium families.

Housing: 5/5

We loved the sleek and durable housing. The upright design helps to save space.

Certification: 5/5

The system is NSF/ANSI Standard P473 and NSF/ANSI Standard 53 certified.

Price: 4/5

This system is expensive but very useful for purifying moderate to severe public water contamination. We recommend this option if your tap water has tested positive for high amounts of lead or other heavy metals.

Third-Best

Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter

Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter

Rockstar performance on a budget.

This Express Water is a three-stage Point of Entry (POE) filter offering wide-spectrum filtration. If you have concerns about your public water quality, this filter helps to remove a wide range of dangerous contaminants, including mercury, lead, and chlorine. We highly recommend this whole house water filter for mild to moderate water quality issues.

Overall Score: 26/30

Filtration Type: 4/5

This is a three-stage water filter offering sediment, Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF), and carbon block filtration in that order. The 5-micron sediment filter removes larger debris, including sand, rust, silt, dust, and heavy metals, protecting the other filters from damage.

Next, the KDF85 medium removes hydrogen sulfide, iron, chloramines, mercury, aluminum, sulfur, and other heavy metals. Additionally, this stage of filtration removes fungi, viruses, algae, and other microorganisms.

Finally, the activated carbon block (ACB) medium removes volatile organic compounds, odor, chlorine, and other chemicals affecting the aesthetic water quality. This filter does not remove total dissolved solids and is not appropriate for well water.

Filtration Capacity: 4/5

Express Water can purify up to 100,000 gallons of water. Depending on your water demands, the filter lasts 6 to 12 months. The filters are also easy to change.

Flow Rate: 4/5

This whole house water filter has a flow rate of 15 gallons per minute. The flow rate is just right for most households, but you might need something quicker for a larger family. The standard one-inch connection helps stabilize the flow rate, and the pressure gauge allows you to monitor your system.

Housing: 5/5

We loved the stainless steel housing and durable construction.

Certification: 4/5

This water filter meets NSF/ANSI water standards. We would have loved more details about the certification, but we know it meets NSF standards for removing more than 80 contaminants. 

Price: 5/5

Many systems offering this level of filtration easily cost more than double of this Express Water filter. This is arguably the best value-for-money whole house water filter in our review.

Fourth-Best

SpringWell Whole House Water Filter System

SpringWell Whole House Water Filter System

A budget model that still filters out most debris found in the average water supply.

The SpringWell Whole House Water Filter System is a four-stage water filter that does a good job removing chloramines, chlorine, pesticides, halo acetic acids, and much more. The unit is easy to install, and you only need to change the filter every six to nine months.

You can enjoy better tasting food, softer skin, and healthier hair using this filter. We recommend this water filter for severely contaminated water or homes with a private well.

You should get the well water tested before installing any kind of filtration. This SpringWell removes hydrogen sulfide, manganese, iron, and other contaminants from your well water.

Overall Score: 26/30

Filtration Type: 5/5

This is a four-stage filter that includes a flex bed, KDF bed, coconut shell carbon bed, and a five-micron sediment filter. The system filters out up to 99.6-percent of chlorine. Other contaminants include sulfur, pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals such as Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), PFAS, and PFOS.

Filtration Capacity: 5/5

This is a 1,000,000 gallon capacity whole house water filter. You get outstanding performance and longevity. However, you need to replace the sediment filter every six to nine months. We’d have preferred if this system was completely maintenance-free, but you are still getting outstanding value here.

Flow Rate: 4/5

You get a 9 GPM flow rate, which is about right for a 1-3 bathroom house. You may notice a drop in flow rate in a large house. However, Spring Well offers other whole house filters designed for larger homes.

Housing: 5/5

This durable stainless steel housing can withstand flooding and other disasters that may cause your system to fail.

Certification: 3/5

Except for the certified components, we did not see NFS/ANSI certification or another independent test. We have no concerns about this product’s quality, but independent testing and certification are always reassuring.

Price: 4/5

This system could easily replace the more expensive Aquasana occupying the top spot in this review, especially for moderately to mildly contaminated water. Although slightly pricey, you are getting excellent value for money here.

Fifth-Best

Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN

Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN

Great for homes that use a water supply with a boil warning or well.

Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN is yet another wide-spectrum whole house filter. If your city water comes with boil warnings or you are using a well water supply, this Aquasana is a good option. The system is easy to install if you have basic DIY experience.

Overall Score: 25/30

Filtration Type: 5/5

This system offers wide-spectrum filtration and includes carbon and KDF media. Additionally, the system has salt-free scale control media and a UV purifier.

The filter removes 99.9-percent of bacteria and viruses and 97-percent of chlorine. Additionally, this system reduces VOCs, pesticides, herbicides, lead, and mercury.

Filtration Capacity: 5/5

This Aquasana has a 1 million gallon capacity or a 10-year lifespan. You still need to change the filter every three to six months.

Flow Rate: 4/5

This model offers a flow rate of 7 GPM. You may notice a slight decrease in pressure for larger houses with more than three bathrooms. We would have liked to see a better flow rate, but 7 GPM is still within the acceptable range.

Housing: 4/5

The tank is made from some kind of plastic compound. It is durable and sturdy. However, a stainless steel tank or housing would be more durable in case of a flood.

Certification: 3/5

This Aquasana is NSF certified to remove 97-percent of chlorine. This brand could do with more NSF or third-party certification for credibility. Still, we do not doubt this water filter’s claims.

Price: 4/5

At first, the price tag may seem a little steep. Consider that this system purifies water at a cost of $0.01 per gallon, and you suddenly have a different perspective.

Sixth-Best

iSpring WGB21B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System​

iSpring WGB21B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

A basic water filter to improve the taste, odor, and appearance without breaking the bank.

Admittedly, some of these whole house filtration systems featured here are pricey. If all you need is a basic water filter to improve your water’s aesthetic qualities (taste, odor, and appearance), the iSpring WGB21B is an ideal choice.

This 2-stage POE water filter removes up to 90-percent of chlorine in your water. We recommend this option for small apartments, studio apartments, and campers.

Overall Score: 22/30

Filtration Type: 3/5

This is a two-step whole house water filter. A 5-micron polypropylene sediment filter eliminates sediments, including rust, scale particles, sand, silt, and dirt. The second-stage CTO filter removes 90-percent of chlorine and clears taste and odor issues.

iSpring WGB21B filter claims to remove VOCs like industrial solvents, herbicides, and pesticides, but we have our reservations. In our experience, five-micron filters are rarely suitable for anything more than chlorine, taste, and odor issues.

Filtration Capacity: 3/5

This filter processes up to 50,000 gallons of water. The industry average is about 100,000 gallons and up, so this filter is only suitable for small households. Otherwise, you will be replacing the filters too often.

Flow Rate: 5/5

You get a satisfactory 15 GPM flow rate. Since this is a two-stage water filter, the flow rate is higher than some of the more premium models we feature in this review.

Housing: 3/5

You get a reinforced plastic housing with this whole house water filter. This is a compact model, so the construction material makes sense. Also, you can replace the inexpensive filter on a whim.  

Certification: 3/5

Although iSpring makes serious filtration claims, including removing VOCs, these claims aren’t backed up by NFS/ANSI certification. However, the filter is third-party tested and works for basic aesthetic water issues.

Price: 5/5

This is an inexpensive whole house water filter. The only thing is to set the right expectations. Don’t expect to remove heavy metals or use this filter with a private well water supply. It works well in a camper or small apartment with minimal water filtration needs. Also, this filter shines if you have mildly contaminated city water.

Seventh-Best

Culligan WH-HD200-C Whole House Filtration System

A very affordable water filter for apartments, mobile homes, or refrigerators.

If you are looking for an inexpensive water filter for a small apartment, this Culligan offers a perfect solution. The compact water filter easily installs in your main water supply.

This filter comes with everything you need for installation, including a mounting bracket and housing wrench. Culligan WH-HD200-C Whole House Filtration System can also complement an existing refrigerator filter.

Overall Score: 22/30

Filtration Type: 3/5

This system is compatible with several Culligan filters. You can always choose the micron rating that suits your filtration requirements. For the most part, this is a basic water filter that improves your water’s quality. The filter reduces impurities such as chlorine, chloramines, iron, particulate, zinc, and manganese.

Flow Rate: 4/5

The flow rate depends on the filter that you use. Culligan filters range from between 3 and 10 GPM.

Filtration Capacity: 3/5

You need to change the filter every three to six months. We don’t expect that this whole house filter will do more than 50,000 gallons. The exact capacity isn’t listed. Please keep in mind that this system does not come with a filter. You have to buy the filter separately.

Housing: 3/5

This is a plastic water filter.

Certification: 4/5

Culligan WH-HD200-C Whole House Filtration System is NFS/ANSI 372 and NSF/ANSI 42. This system is certified for no excessive lead in its components, which is reassuring.  

Price: 5/5

This is an inexpensive whole house filter for a small apartment or recreational vehicle. Please keep in mind that this is a basic filter that only solves your odor, taste, and water clarity issues.

You’ll need something with better filtration if you have seriously compromised city water. Otherwise, this is a great, cheap filter that lives up to its promise.

Choosing a Whole House Water Filter

You might need a little more information about whole house water filters to guide you in the right direction before making your final decision. This guide is designed to capture the essential features to look for in a whole house filtration system.

How Whole House Water Filters Work

How the best whole house water filters work put into a graphic

A whole house water filter is typically a Point of Entry (POE) filter. This means that the filter installs where the main water line enters the house. Here, the system delivers filtered water throughout the home, including your faucets, bathrooms, showers, and appliances like dishwashers and water heaters.

The exact mechanics of how the water filter works depends on the specific filter the system uses, as you will discover in the next section.

Things to Consider

The home water filtration market is varied, so you need to be keen when choosing a filtration system. These systems cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

Whatever your budget, you want to get the most value for your money. Here are some of the factors we considered when ranking our top seven best whole house water filters.

Filtration Type

As an image for a piece on the best whole house water filters, a graph showing filter types

The filtration type refers to the specific kind of filter the system uses. Many modern whole house filters use a combination of filtration methods and can have up to seven different types of filtration. The most common designs include:

Sediment Filters – Most sediment filters have a 5-micron pore size, which means that they block any impurities larger than five microns. These are typically large particles such as dirt, sand, scale, silt, and organic matter.

Although most city water supply is already filtered for sediment, a sediment filter can help prolong a secondary filter’s life by trapping particles that may clog or damage a smaller micron filter.

Carbon-Based Filters – These filters are the most common and typically the most affordable. Activated Carbon Block (ACB) filters remove chlorine taste and odor from water. Additionally, this type of carbon filter effectively reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs), lead, and microscopic cysts.

ACB filters offer a great performance-to-cost ratio, have a reasonable flow rate, and retain the water’s essential minerals. However, these filters do not remove dissolved solids, excess minerals, and viruses.

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters are another type of carbon-based filter. GAC filters perform the basic functions of ACB filters. However, GAC filters have looser carbon granules than activated carbon filters. This design offers a better flow rate, but this comes at the cost of weaker contaminant absorption.

Reverse Osmosis Filters – Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters have a semi-permeable membrane to remove inorganic contaminants. These filters are effective at removing up to 99-percent of minerals and other contaminants. However, the filters are not very effective at removing volatile organic compounds, chlorine, and pesticides.

Most reverse osmosis filters have a carbon-based primary filter to protect the RO from chlorine damage. Although RO systems offer superior filtration, they produce wastewater known as brine. Reverse osmosis filtration systems typically come with a storage tank to compensate for the slow filtration rate.

UV Sterilization – Although not technically a filter, Ultra Violet (UV) sterilization is effective at getting rid of microorganisms like protozoa, viruses, bacteria, cyst, and E.coli. You typically see this kind of filtration system in places that use rivers, well, or rainwater.

These systems use an ultraviolet lamp to destroy up to 99.9-percent of disease-causing microbiological contaminants.

Filtration Capacity

The best whole house water filter capacity chart

Filtration capacity refers to how much water filters can purify. Most filtration systems come with a replaceable filter. Filter capacity for whole house filters ranges between 50,000 and 2 million gallons.

Some manufacturers insist that you change the filter within a particular timeline, whether or not you have hit the filter’s capacity. Typically, you need to change the filter every three to twelve months or when you have reached its filtration capacity, whichever comes first.

Look for easily replaceable water filters. Most modern systems don’t need any tools to replace the filter. Simply pop out the old one and drop in the new one and lock it in place.

Some systems have a self-cleaning feature, so you don’t have to change the filter. These whole house filtration systems last up to 10 or 20 years.

Flow Rate

Graph showing the whole house water filter flow rate

Installing a water filter can sometimes reduce your water pressure. For this reason, you need to keep an eye on the filter’s flow rate. The flow rate can vary between 6 and 20 gallons per minute.

As a general guideline, the typical flow rate for regular water usage in the home is as follows:

 Toilet – 5 GPM
 Shower– 2.5 to 5 GPM
Dishwasher– 3 GPM

The larger the house, the higher the flow rate you need, so you don’t see a change in water pressure. Most households need at least 6 GPM filtration system to maintain the appropriate water pressure.

Housing

Whether or not the water filter comes with a tank, the housing dictates how impervious the system is to damage. The most significant risk for water filters is flood damage.

Cheaper systems use reinforced plastic housing or tanks. While these are durable under normal conditions, they may not handle adverse conditions very well. Stainless steel housing is your best bet for longevity.

Certification

Whole house water filter certifications from a guy in a rethority shirt holding two pieces of paper

Water filter manufacturers make all sorts of claims about what their systems remove from your water. While many manufacturers test their products, third-party testers help to support the manufacturer’s claims.

Here, you want to look out for the Water Quality Association (WQA) and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification.

This shouldn’t be too much of a concern if you stick with reputable brands. Additionally, most manufacturers work with certified materials and compounds.

Price

Finally, you don’t want to get the most value for money. It is easy to be impressed by the filtration qualities of a system. The truth is, while there are some concerns about city water quality, some states have high-quality city water.

The best approach is to have your water tested for contaminants. Here, you can decide which whole house filter suits your situation. It would be a shame if you spent thousands of dollars for a filter to remove microorganisms when all you need is a basic carbon-based filter to improve your water’s aesthetic quality.

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