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What Are Kitchen Faucet Filters and Do They Really Work?

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water from kitchen faucet filter
water from kitchen faucet filter

What Are Kitchen Faucet Filters and Do They Really Work?

Culligan

If you’re looking for a way to make your drinking water cleaner and better tasting, your first instinct might be to buy a kitchen faucet filter. Compact, easy to install and readily available at many home improvement stores, these filters seem like a good choice — but are they as reliable as they seem?

Today, we’re covering everything you need to know about kitchen faucet filters: what they are, how they work and why you may want to choose a more comprehensive solution for your drinking water.

Why Get A Kitchen Faucet Filter?

Have you ever turned on the tap only to notice an odd odor or discolored water? Do you worry about the quality of the drinking water you’re serving to friends, family and even pets? If so, you’ve likely considered a kitchen faucet filter. 

Here are a few other reasons you may have found yourself thinking about one of these filters:

You Recently Had a Water Test

If your water test results gave you something to worry about — like high chlorine content in your drinking water — you may not be eager to rush to the tap. That means you probably want to choose a filtration solution before you get another drink.

You Worry About Your Water

Even if you didn’t have a water test, you’ve probably heard stories about the kinds of contaminants that could end up in your glass.* Take, for example, the Flint water crisis, during which residents of a Michigan town were exposed to high levels of lead in drinking water. Although the situation in Flint has since been improved, the crisis encouraged people across North America to be more vigilant about their water quality. 

You’ve Noticed Something Odd

It doesn’t always take an expert to point out that something might be wrong with your water. You may have noticed something off, including unusual odors, strange colors or unpleasant tastes. Even if some of these things pose no danger to your health, you won’t know for sure until you’ve had a water test — and either way, you probably don’t want to drink water that seems off.

Your Kitchen Faucet is Your Primary Source of Drinking Water

Maybe your water looks, smells and tastes just fine. Even then, given that not all water issues are observable, you may want a filtration solution simply because you’d feel safer with a filter.

You Want Something Simple and Inexpensive

At the end of the day, many people look to kitchen faucet filters as a simple, affordable solution to water quality problems. They see this as a far cheaper alternative than single-use plastic water bottles — and while that may be true, kitchen faucet filters actually don’t deliver the kind of water quality you’re probably hoping for. (More on that later.)

How Do Faucet Filters Work?

As the name suggests, faucet filters are attached directly to your faucet (usually in the kitchen). When you turn on the tap, water flows into the filter housing, which can be made of plastic or metal depending on the model. Inside, the water passes through a “sediment trap.” This screen helps remove particles of sediment like dirt or sand. After that, the water is typically sent through a block of activated carbon and zeolite, which is full of pores that trap contaminants like chlorine.

Different faucet filter models have different capabilities — for example, only some can address lead — but are generally used for basic filtration like removing dirt particles or chlorine smells.

Do Faucet Filters Really Work?

It’s difficult to say whether faucet filters are effective. That’s because different people may have different definitions of “effective.”

For example, a faucet filter could work for basic needs. It can address issues such as sediment particles or high levels of chlorine, both of which can noticeably impact your water quality.

However, these filters are just a simple fix. For anything more complicated or difficult to address, like the presence of arsenic, lead or other concerning contaminants, a faucet-mounted filter won’t necessarily deliver the results you need.

Faucet Filters: Pros and Cons

If you’re starting to wonder whether a kitchen faucet filter is your best choice after all, here are a few pros and cons to consider:

Advantages of Faucet Filters

  • Size: These filters don’t take up space on your countertop, in the fridge or under the sink. They’re compact and lightweight, so they don’t disrupt the use of your sink.
  • Price: Compared to some other options, a faucet-mounted filter is highly affordable.
  • Setup: Kitchen faucet filters come with easy instructions and can be installed quickly.

Disadvantages of Faucet Filters

  • Maintenance: Faucet-mounted systems have internal filters that need to be replaced frequently, which takes time and costs extra.
  • Functionality: Although they’re effective for some issues, many kitchen faucet filters fail to address certain significant water problems. 
  • Vulnerability: Due to their placement on your faucet, these filters can easily be damaged by everyday activities, like washing an oversized pan in your sink.

Are Faucet Filters Worth It?

It’s up to you to decide whether a kitchen faucet filter is worth your time and money. Overall, it’s helpful to think of these systems as temporary solutions: They’re better than nothing, but they’re only a small step toward better water quality. They could also be expensive in the long run, as you need to replace filters far more frequently than you would with a comprehensive system. 

Already Have a Faucet Filter?

If you already have a kitchen faucet filter, you may be starting to second-guess its reliability. Luckily, you don’t have to take the manufacturer’s word for it. Instead, schedule a free, in-home water test. Your local Culligan expert will test your water with and without your faucet filter so you can compare results. That way, you know what the filter is and isn’t doing, what your water quality actually looks like and whether you might benefit from a more comprehensive filtration system.

Alternative Solutions to Faucet Filters

Whether you’re looking to replace your kitchen faucet filter with something more reliable or are just starting to explore the world of water filtration solutions, you have plenty of options. As you begin your research, you’ll want to look into three solution types: under sink systems, whole house systems and water softeners.

Under Sink Water Filtration Systems

Also known as point-of-use systems, an under sink water filtration system works to address water quality issues like:

  • Unpleasant tastes
  • Odd odors
  • Discoloration
  • A wide range of potential contaminants, including lead, mercury and arsenic

These systems often use reverse osmosis to filter water and are one of the most comprehensive drinking water filtration solutions available. With additional filter cartridges, an under-sink system can even provide alkaline drinking water.

Whole-Home Water Filtration Systems

Point-of-entry or whole-home water filtration systems are installed where water enters your home. These are typically more focused on specific water problems —  like the presence of sulfur, iron or chlorine — that impact cleaning and bathing as well as drinking water.

Water Softeners

Water softeners aren’t filtration systems. However, they can work in tandem with under-sink or whole-home filtration systems to create an even better water experience, helping eliminate hard water issues like mineral buildup, dry skin, brittle hair and more. 

Ready to learn more about what filtration options may be best for you? Schedule your free consultation and in-home water test today.

*Contaminants may not be present in your water.

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