Water Filter Buying Guide

There are more reasons to use a water filter in your home than to just have fresh drinking water. Use our Water Filter Buying Guide to learn how water filters can benefit cooking, protect appliances, and improve the water you use to shower.

Choosing a Water Filter

Instead of looking at bottled water as a way to ensure quality drinking water, consider a water filter instead. It's a more affordable and convenient way of guaranteeing fresh water.

Water filters are easy to install and maintain, with a wide variety to suit individual and home requirements. Get yours today and set your mind at ease.

Types of Water Contaminants You Need Protection From

Water contaminants can be broken down into four categories:

  • Taste and odour-causing contaminants
  • Rust/sediment
  • Bacteria/parasites
  • Lead
  • Your water may or may not suffer from one of these, or any combination of them. If you’re concerned about your water quality, you can have it tested by an independent laboratory and then pick a water filtration system to improve the quality of your water. Remember, the type of system you use will be dependent on the quality of your water supply. Water filters require some maintenance, and cartridges should be changed according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

    Taste & Odour-Causing Contaminants

    If your water smells or tastes bad, there is little doubt that you would benefit from a water filter. Municipal water often smells of chlorine, which is used to treat the water. Well water, which is dependent upon many local conditions affecting the water supply, may also smell bad. Water filters often treat these conditions by the use of "Granular Activated Carbon," (GAC) a substance that absorbs contaminants that would otherwise cause offensive tastes and odors.

    Filters which use GAC may cause cloudy water for the first couple of weeks after a filter change. This is a harmless condition caused by the release of air from the GAC and can be reduced by running the water for several seconds before each use until the air is flushed out.

    Rust & Sediment

    You may notice visible particles in your water; sediment may be seen collecting in the bottom of your dishwasher or commode, for example. Larger particles may collect behind the screens of your faucet aerator. Smaller particles may collect at the bottom of a glass of water that sits for a time.

    Rust and sediment are easily collected by particulate filters. Whole house particulate filters can be easily installed to protect not only your drinking water, but also appliances like dishwashers and ice makers.Water filters are not effective against clear water iron, which can leave red stains in tubs and toilets. To treat this substance, a water softener is required.

    Bacteria & Parasites
    If your house relies on a well, your water is more likely to be contaminated by bacteria and parasites. Many bacteria and parasites occur naturally in clear water supplies, while others are the result of water supply contamination by sewage and wastes. Some bacteria and parasites affect the taste and smell of the water, but others do not.
    Cysts, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, are particularly hearty parasites and have been known to contaminate even chlorinated municipal water supplies. They can cause illness and are a serious hazard to the young, elderly, or those with immune deficiencies. Water filters are available with various filter cartridges which are effective against many of these contaminants.

    Houses built before 1986 may have pipes joined with lead solder. Your municipal water system may also be composed of components that contain or are soldered with lead. If you are concerned about the possibility of lead in your water supply, you may have your water tested by an independent laboratory.
    Lead contained in water is tasteless and odourless, but should be avoided as much as possible. It can be most effectively removed from your drinking and cooking water by installing a lead filter directly under the sink in your kitchen. This filter placement assures that even if you have lead in the pipes of your home, it will be removed from your drinking water.

    What Types of Water Filters are Available?

    There are several types of water filtration systems available, and you can install them yourself simply by following the manufacturers instructions. Choose the system that meets your needs based upon the contaminants you are trying to remove.

    Be aware, however, that although the countertop and faucet-mounted filters are easiest to install initially, they are more bulky and less convenient than the hidden undersink filter. They are also less versatile if you are attempting to filter contaminants other than tastes, smells, and lead.

    Whole House Filters

    Whole house filters are available and easy to install. They are placed in the main water line entering your home and are designed to remove sediment and rust particles from all of the water entering your home. They can also benefit the other types of water filters by acting as a particulate prefilter.


    Under Sink Filters

    Different varieties of undersink filters are available and should be chosen depending upon your home's individual needs. Some remove bad tastes and odors only, while others also remove lead, bacteria, sediment, or any combination of the four. These units may have multiple cartridges, each designed to filter a particular type of contaminant.


    A silver faucet with a filter mounted on it, water coming out of the faucet

    Faucet-Mounted Filters

    These filters connect directly to the faucet and require no plumbing connections. Some models are designed simply to remove bad tastes and odors, while more sophisticated units now have lead and cyst filtering capabilities. The advantage of these filters is that they are small and very easy to install and remove. Also, they filter the water at the point of use.
    Water filter installed beside a countertop faucet

    Countertop Or Canister Filters

    These are the simplest water filters available. They are countertop appliances, like toasters, and can filter drinking water for different contaminants. The disadvantage of these filters is that, unlike under sink filters, their use is not transparent. Some of these filters must remain on your counter, some require connection to your spigot, and some require that water be poured through them, sort of like a drip coffee maker.

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