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Consumer Reports: How well do water filters really work?

Posted at 4:00 AM, Sep 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-06 09:32:39-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Thirsty? A refreshing glass of water will do the trick! Unless of course, that tap water doesn’t taste or smell so good.

“Most water in the U.S. is safe to drink, but it could contain compounds and chemicals that can make it taste metallic or salty, or even smell a little funny," says Consumer Reports Home Editor, Perry Santanachote.

Most of the pitchers CR tested successfully took care of the smell, but only one pitcher earned an excellent rating for both flavor and odor reduction, the Pur Ultimate with Lead Reduction PPT711W. Two others garnered a Very Good, The Pur Basic PPT700W and the Brita Stream Rapids OB55.

“No one filter does it all," says Santanachote. "Most pitchers will remove chlorine and elements that leave a bad taste, but very few actually remove lead.”

In fact, only two pitchers that Consumer Reports tested actually claim to filter out lead. If there are serious contaminants in your water, a water pitcher filter may not be enough to solve your problem. One last thing you want to be aware of when shopping for a new water filter pitcher is how long it takes to filter the water.

“The Brita Stream Rapids filtered one quart of water in just one minute and 15 seconds," says Santanachote. "In comparison, the lead-removing Pur Ultimate took nearly 15 minutes to filter a quart. It’s definitely a factor to consider if you have a thirsty household that goes through a lot of water every day.”

CR also says to remember that you need to replace the filter in your pitcher as often as the manufacturer states, which is usually every two months or 40 gallons, and new filters generally range from $5-15.