What Water Pitcher Filter Companies Aren't Telling You

    Published: May 10, 2017

    What Water Pitcher Filter Companies Aren’t Telling You

    More and more families are realizing that water filtration is an important step for protecting children and adults alike from common contaminants. However, most families that purchase water filters simply go with water pitcher filters that are stored in the refrigerator. As these filters are sold by big brands, shoppers assume that these filters are perhaps similar in effectiveness to a whole house filter or an under-the-sink filter system.

    However, this comparison is woefully inaccurate. Most water pitcher filters actually target far fewer contaminants than permanent water filter systems and filter out considerably less of each contaminant. Here are the fast facts you need to know before going home with a water pitcher filter.

    • In 2012, The Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants and Good Housekeeping conducted tests on popular water pitcher filters from brands including Pur, Brita, and ZeroWater. Their tests showed that, depending on the brand, the filters only removed 49-80% of the contaminants that the filters targeted. If you were purchasing a water filter to install in your home, would you feel safe reading that only 40% of a particular contaminant was removed from your water? You can view the full study results here.
    • Water pitcher filters from these top brands only target a few contaminants. Unlike more extensive whole house filter systems, these pitcher filters target a handful of contaminants that many homeowners don’t actively worry about. For example, the most popular Brita pitcher filter targets cadmium, mercury, and copper. If you are concerned about lead, chlorine, or other contaminants, these filters are not designed to remove these threats to your health.
    • Using a water pitcher filter as your primary filter means that the rest of the water in your home is still contaminated. If you drink from a pitcher filter the water you use to make tea, wash dishes, prepare food, brush your teeth, and shower would not be treated at all. Water pitcher filters only target the water you drink from the pitcher, and cannot substitute for whole house protection.
    • Water pitcher filters are not held to the same filtering standards as a full-size or standard household water filter. This is a very important fact to keep in mind when shopping for a water filter: the testing standards are not as high for ease-of-use water pitcher filters, and the percentages of the contaminants filtered out are not as accurate as a more vetted water filter system. There is no way to know, for example, if the materials in a water pitcher filter are phthalate or BPA-free.
    • Some models of water pitcher filters can actually increase the amount of bacteria in your drinking water. Some brands include trace amounts of bactericide in their pitcher filters to decrease the risk of infection inside, but this doesn’t always work. In addition, the filter itself can become a breeding ground for some bacteria. Unless there is some kind of disinfectant in the water filter system (which, in pitcher filters, there almost always is not) the filter surfaces will become covered with a biofilm of bacteria over time.
    • As you continue to purchase new filters for water pitcher filters the cost increases rapidly. While the initial cost is certainly lower for a standard water pitcher filter, the savings rapidly diminish, as filters must be bought more often. After a couple of years of use, you could have simply purchased a more comprehensive whole house water filter and experienced more thorough filtration from the first day of use.

    When you consider the full context of your water filter purchase, it is clear that water pitcher filters provide less security and safety for your family. In order to enjoy consistently cleaner, purer drinking water invest in a Pelican Water whole house filter, an NSF-Certified reverse osmosis filter or countertop filter. The initial investment will pay for itself over time: our systems require infrequent maintenance and filter out harmful contaminants from the water in your entire home, not just in your water pitcher.