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What Are Water Filter Pitchers, and Do They Really Work?


Do you know what’s in your drinking water? If you have questions or concerns every time you turn on the tap, you might be looking for a way to put your mind at ease. Many people solve this problem by using a water filter. 

However, with such a wide variety of filter systems on the market, you may wonder what the best choice is. You might even be tempted to grab one of the simplest, cheapest options available: a water filter pitcher. 

But what is a water filter pitcher? How does it work, and can you really count on it to provide cleaner, safer water for your household? 

Today, we’ll answer all these questions and more so you can take control of your water quality with a solution that fits your needs.

Why You Might Want a Water Filter Pitcher

If your family, friends and even pets drink your tap water, you probably want to make sure you’re providing something that looks, smells and tastes fresh. However, tap water doesn’t always check all these boxes, which is why many people turn to water filter pitchers.

pros and cons of water filter pitchersHere are a few reasons you may have considered this solution:

You Recently Had a Water Test

Professional water tests can give you key information about your water quality. If a recent test indicated you may have contaminants in your drinking water, you likely went looking for a filtration solution like a water pitcher filter, which can typically address impurities including chlorine and certain heavy metals.*

You’ve Noticed Issues with Your Water

A water test isn’t the only way to determine there’s something wrong with your water supply (although it’s by far the most reliable method). You can also spot some issues based on unpleasant experiences — like going to take a sip only to realize your water smells like sulfur. 

Odors, discoloration and even odd tastes can indicate the presence of a water quality issue. These are considered aesthetic problems, and while they’re not necessarily a risk to your health, they can make you uncomfortable drinking your water or serving it to guests.

You’re Worried About Your Water

Even without a water test or a noticeable issue, you might still be hesitant to drink from your tap. There are a lot of variables when it comes to your water quality — like the original source of your water, your home’s plumbing and more — so it’s easy to feel like you don’t have control over every detail. Furthermore, famous water quality disasters like the 2003 E. coli contamination in Walkerton, Ontario, when agricultural runoff polluted the municipal water supply with bacteria, can instill concern even if the original event has been addressed.

Simply put, it’s natural to wonder — and even worry — about your tap water. For this reason, many people look for filtration solutions to help take control of their water quality.

You Want a Simple, Affordable Solution

Perhaps the biggest reason you may have considered water filter pitchers is that they’re accessible. The cost of these systems is rarely prohibitive, which means they seem like a quick and easy solution to your water woes. 

However, that’s not necessarily the case — which is why it’s important to take a closer look at filter pitchers to understand what they can and can’t do.

How Do Water Filter Pitchers Work?

Standard pitcher systems work by utilizing basic filtration techniques. A filter is installed inside the lid of the pitcher, where it works to reduce the presence of certain contaminants. This process happens in one of two ways:

  • Chemically, where a substance like activated carbon attracts some contaminants 
  • Physically, where a net-like filter traps some contaminants

These techniques are functional, but they aren’t designed to completely eliminate every possible pollutant. Some contaminant molecules, like lead, are essentially “too advanced” for the simple filtration solution inside standard pitcher systems. Because such contaminants are often imperceptible, you might not even realize your water filter pitcher is letting them through. 

Do Water Filter Pitchers Really Work?

There’s no simple answer when it comes to the effectiveness of water filter pitchers. Instead, their reliability depends on your water quality goals.

If you’re looking for a quick, simple way to filter small amounts of water, a pitcher system might be a passable option. Just keep in mind that your water could still contain certain contaminants that aren’t addressed by the pitcher.*

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a comprehensive solution to a long list of possible water quality problems, a water filter pitcher won’t really suffice. You’ll need something more robust (more on that later).

Water Filter Pitchers: Pros and Cons

Starting to wonder whether water filter pitchers are a solid choice after all? Consider these advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of Water Filter Pitchers

  • Compact: Pitcher systems can sit on your countertop or in your fridge. They’re small and easy to move, which means they won’t be a nuisance in your kitchen. 
  • Simple: There’s no complex setup or installation required for a water filter pitcher. Some even filter as you pour.
  • Inexpensive: Although you can buy more expensive systems, many water filter pitchers cost between $20 and $60.

Disadvantages of Water Filter Pitchers

  • Less effective: A water filter pitcher isn’t comprehensive enough to reduce the presence of many significant contaminants. That means it’s not a reliable solution for many water quality problems.
  • Inefficient: Pitcher systems can only filter so much water at a time. This makes them difficult to rely on for larger needs like cooking or a group.
  • Frustrating: While filter pitchers may be easy to use, they require frequent filter replacements. This can be time-consuming, expensive and frustrating in the long run.

Are Water Filter Pitchers Worth It?

Water filter pitchers may be a better choice than single-use plastic bottles of water, which can be expensive and aren’t environmentally friendly, but a pitcher system likely isn’t the best choice for your home. Instead, it might be helpful to view filter pitchers as a temporary solution until you can choose a more comprehensive system to filter your water.

Already Have a Water Filter Pitcher?

If you already have a water filter pitcher, don’t worry — these systems are better than having no filtration solution at all. However, if you want to see how reliable your system is (or isn’t), you should have two water tests performed.

The first water test should report on your unfiltered tap water. The second should provide results about water that has passed through your filter pitcher. By comparing these two tests, you can see what your pitcher system is doing, what contaminants it isn’t catching and what other solution might be a better fit.

To put your water filter pitcher to the test, start by scheduling your free water consultation. 

Alternative Solutions to Water Filter Pitchers

You don’t have to settle for a water filter pitcher. There are plenty of more comprehensive options available — like under sink and whole home systems. You should also explore water softeners for an even better water experience.

Here’s what to know about all three:

Under Sink Water Filtration Systems

An under sink water filtration system is specifically intended to improve drinking water quality. Many use reverse osmosis to reduce contaminants, and are one of the most robust filtration solutions available. 

Under sink systems address water quality issues including:

  • Unpleasant tastes
  • Odd odors
  • A broad array of contaminants including lead, mercury and chromium

Explore under sink water filtration systems here.

Whole-Home Water Filtration Systems

A whole-home water filtration system is a great way to improve water quality wherever you turn on the tap. Also called a point-of-entry system, they are installed where water enters your home, which means they can address all the water you use.  

Whole-home systems are best for specific problems like sulfur, iron or chlorine, all of which can impact cleaning and bathing as well as drinking water.

Start researching whole-home water filtration systems here.

Water Softeners

Water softeners aren’t filtration systems, but they do provide another key service: addressing hardness levels in your water supply. Hard water can cause issues like soap scum buildup, dry skin and hair, spotty dishes and more. 

Learn more about water softeners and how they work in tandem with water filtration systems.

Ready to learn more about what type of water treatment solution is best for your home? Schedule your free consultation and water test today.


*Contaminants may not be present in your water.

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