How Effective Are Water Filter Pitchers? Pros and Cons to Consider

You want to give your family the gift of clean, safe water, but is a water filter pitcher enough? Find out the pros and cons of these simple water-filtration systems.

Darrell Smith
11.2019
Water Filter Pitchers
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It goes without saying that you want your family to drink clean, treated water that's free of contaminants. And it must provide some peace of mind to know that most drinking water in the US is safe, clean, and good-tasting.

But if you want an extra layer of protection, or if you live in an area where the water has been known to contain higher levels of contaminants or have an unpleasant taste, you may want to consider using a water filter pitcher.

But are these pitchers actually effective? Keep reading as we break down the pros and cons.

How a Water Filter Pitcher Works

The design concept behind a typical water filter pitcher is simple. Water gets poured into the top through a reservoir, passes through a replaceable cartridge that contains a charcoal filter, and flows into the pitcher below.

You can store these pitchers in your fridge and pour yourself a glass of cold, filtered water anytime you want.

The Pros Of Water Filter Pitchers

Let's break down the benefits:

Small, Lightweight, and Portable

You can easily take these pitchers with you on camping trips or outdoor activities, which is far less expensive than buying a case of disposable-plastic bottled water.

Water filter pitchers also alleviate the fear that micro-plastics or possible unknown carcinogens are leeching into your water from the plastic of the water bottle it came in.

Easy to Use with Simple Instructions

These pitchers are much easier to use than other water filtration systems and don't require any installation. Almost all water filter pitcher brands have similar designs with a top reservoir, pitcher, and charcoal filter.

The first time you use a water filter pitcher, you'll need to soak the charcoal filter in a large cup of water for at least 15 minutes. Then you can insert the filter right into the reservoir and secure it into its cartridge tightly.

Next, you'll need to fill the reservoir and wait for the water filtration to finish. After those steps are completed, you'll have fresh, filtered water that's ready to drink.

Charcoal Filters with Activated Carbon Granules

Most pitchers have a filter system made out of activated charcoal whose properties make it an efficient remover of contaminants from water like chlorine, lead, copper, zinc, and mercury.

Make Water More Alkaline

While many of the claimed benefits of drinking alkaline water are dubious, there was a study done by The National Institute of Health that found water with an 8.8 pH level can be beneficial to those with acid reflux.

This is because alkaline water at the right pH level is able to kill pepsin, an enzyme that triggers acid reflux. For those who find this appealing, there are filter pitchers designed to change the pH level of your water.

Least Expensive

When you compare water filter pitchers to other methods of filtering water, the pitchers are much less expensive. You can buy filter pitchers for as little as $30 in various sizes and colors to match your mood or decor.

In addition, when you compare the cost of water filter pitchers to having a water cooler or buying bottled water regularly, you're not only saving a ton of money, but you're also being more eco-friendly.

The Cons of Water Filter Pitchers

So far, water filter pitchers sound like a no-brainer, right? Not so fast, these pitchers (like anything) have some downsides:

Not Quite as Effective

While there's a range of quality among different water filter pitchers, generally speaking, they're not quite as effective at eliminating contaminants as more expensive, more sophisticated under-sink, countertop, and whole-home filtration systems.

Some pitchers strain out only a few select metals like mercury, copper, lead, and cadmium. Others aren't designed to remove hormonal or pharmaceutical residue, a pollutant that's on the rise because people often dump their medication down toilets.

Too Slow

Compared to, say, under-sink filtration systems, the pitcher's filtration process is much slower. Some pitchers take only ten minutes to filter, while others can take up to six hours.

When you buy a water filter system for the first time, you'll want to consider the amount of time it takes to filter water and look for an alternative option if it seems too long.

Charcoal Filters Need to Be Regularly Replaced

Some manufacturers recommend that you change your water pitcher's charcoal filter every 40 gallons. Others place a sticker or electronic indicator as a reminder.

Either way, it's important to replace the filters regularly, which does require a bit of extra time, money, and effort.

Filter Your Water Today

Now that you know the pros and cons of using a water filter pitcher, it's up to you to decide if this device makes sense for you and your household. For more resources on water, be sure to check out our blog.

WaterZen

WaterZen exists to improve your family's health by making information about the water you drink more accessible, straightforward, and easy-to-understand. We do this by providing clear, simple water-quality information for your area based on data from your local water provider, unbiased comparisons, health standards, and expert opinions.

The way we see it, when you're informed about the quality of your water and then empowered to protect your family (and your community), you've achieved "water zen".