The top 5 whole house water filter systems for 2022 and which is best for clean, mineral-rich water for kitchen, laundry, and bathing.
Most of us, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, are consuming water that contains the residue of treated sewage, industrial waste, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, fluoride, disinfectants, and their byproducts, as well as storm runoff. Growing awareness of the problem is why more consumers are seeking whole house water filter options.
For those on municipal water, about 80% of Americans, the water is treated in most instances with a variety of chemicals such as disinfectants like chlorine, chloramines, as well as acid neutralizers and more. These chemical disinfectants also cause the creation of disinfection by-products known as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAA).
In addition, most of the country (210 million Americans), now have their municipal water fluoridated without the consent of the homeowner. Fluoride is a nasty chemical derived from the fertilizer industry as a waste product from its manufacturing process. All of these chemicals have been shown to have deleterious health effects including reduced IQ in children.
Wells vs City Water
For those on private well water, like my family, the situation can be even more problematic. Wells are often the source of water contaminated with modern agricultural products including fertilizers, glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup and pesticides. It can also contain high levels of bacteria such as E-coli, can have excess calcium and magnesium contributing to hard water, rust that discolors laundry and bathrooms, and be very toxic with heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and more.
That’s the bad news.
The great news is that excellent water filtration technologies do exist today that empower you to take charge and start making your home a better place for you and your family to gain true peace of mind. Some water technologies and solutions are better than others, however!
The best water filter solutions are known as Whole House Water Systems or Point-of-Entry Systems. They are perfectly suited for those looking to address water problems before the water enters the home. Thus, all water is cleaned whether for cooking, drinking, laundry, bathing, or watering the vegetable garden. This means that every faucet in the home (and even outside faucets) delivers clean, safe, great-tasting water!
5 Whole House Water Filter Options
Following is a discussion of the various whole house water filtration choices available to you today including the advantages and disadvantages of each. The best option is discussed at the end.
A budget-friendly unit that most homes would benefit from as it physically removes particulates from the water before entering your home’s plumbing.
Advantages: Inexpensive and easy to install for those with lots of sand, silt or dirt in their water.
Disadvantages: Ineffective in removing chemicals, bad taste, odor or any other contaminants.
For those homes with hard water, a salt-based softener can mitigate the effects. However, these systems are limited in that they do not provide any removal or filtration of chemical contaminants. Many people find a water conditioner to be superior to a softener because a conditioner requires no salt, no backwashing, no electricity, and no maintenance.
Advantages: Both softeners and conditioners are effective in addressing concerns with high levels of water hardness caused by excesses in calcium, magnesium or iron.
Disadvantages: Softeners are ineffective in removing chemicals, bad taste or odor. They can contribute to high levels of sodium or potassium to the water. They also require regular maintenance.
Granular Activated Carbon Filter
A basic, entry-level whole house water system utilizing a single type of filtration media.
Advantages: Effective in removing chlorine and chlorine byproducts as well as eliminating bad taste and odor.
Disadvantages: Ineffective in removing many chemicals including chloramines and fluoride. It does not lessen the effects of heavy metals.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) System
RO Systems purify water through multiple stages usually including sediment filtration, ultraviolet light, deionization and the use of pre- and post-carbon filters in conjunction with the use of a reverse osmosis membrane.
Advantages: Effective in removing a wide spectrum of contaminants to produce very pure water.
Disadvantages: Very expensive. It requires lots of space. Wastes water. Takes out valuable minerals. Not optimal for fermentation or making kombucha or water kefir.
Mixed Media Filtration System (BEST Whole House Water Filter)
A mixed media whole house system utilizes a blend of highly effective and well-tested types of water filtration media typically formulated within a single cylindrical tank. It connects directly to the incoming plumbing to affect the entirety of your home’s water.
This whole house system is my vetted pick for the best quality!
For those also looking for the optimal in kitchen water purification, you would pair the whole house water filter with this biocompatible purification system.
Advantages: Effective in removing chlorine, chlorine by-products, heavy metals, fluoride, and bad taste and odor, all within a single tank. It can be customized to address special issues with well water. It will last for many years (up to 1,000,000 gallons) and is maintenance-free.
Disadvantages: More of an investment but well worth it in the long run especially since it is maintenance-free.
Do You Have a Whole House Water Filter Yet?
What are your water concerns based on the area you live? Have you installed a whole house water system yet? Is your water fluoridated? Are you concerned about pharma drugs and gut destroying glyphosate residues in your water like I am? What’s your story?
I have been hearing and reading that RO systems are prone to mold. Some are saying they must be disinfected every 6 months (so definitely not maintenance free…). Have you heard any of these claims lately Sarah? Thanks.
I love my Kinetico water system… used it for many years in central fl where the county water is crap …. My toilets stay clean without limescale as do my washer tubs showers and sink and it got rid of the jhorrible smell .. now when I travel that’s the first thing I miss …
Can you recommend a water hydrogenating system to go along with the whole house system?
Sarah Pope MGA
I am dubious of the claims of these systems and not confident they are actually beneficial, hence, my lack of a water hydrogenation system recommendation at this time. Filtering it is the most important thing and the only thing I do and feel is imperative.
We just got our radient life whole house water filter set up yesterday, and have noticed a weird taste to it. We ran water most of the day thinking it was maybe something that needed to be flushed out of the lines, but it hasn’t gone away! Luckily my husband has a chlorine/ph test kit so he was able to test the water, and we were shocked to see the PH of the filtered water is 8.4! When he shut off the filter and tested our regular water the PH was 7.6. Why in the world would this new filter make the PH so high? Sarah do you have any thoughts about this? This filter was a big investment for us, and I am concerned about being exposed to high PH water on a daily basis! Has anyone else experienced this as well with this whole house filter?
Sarah Pope MGA
I have no idea … sounds like a call to customer service would be needed here. Do you have a water softener as well? This would increase the pH of the water.
Thank you for your post. I live in Europe and I will move to a big house soon. I wonder if you know of a whole house water filter that I can install in my new house. Thank you.
Sarah Pope MGA
Yes, see the links in the post for the one I recommend. Here it is again for your convenience. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/go/house-water-system/
Thank you for this post! I was really looking for this information! I haven’t installed a whole house water filter yet but I want to do it.
How do I know which companies are reputable for a whole house system?
Sarah Pope MGA
I linked to a reputable company within the article that has been vetted.
I’ve read a lot of information that says that granulated activated carbon will remove anywhere from 40-70% of arsenic from the water. Why do you say that it doesn’t remove heavy metals? Can you please point me in the direction of the information that you used for that? I’d like to read up on everything before we make our decision. We are on a well with arsenic and I’m looking for the best solution.
Sarah Pope MGA
I would suggest calling Radiant Life with your well water test results for a free consultation about which whole house model will remove all the arsenic. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/go/water-testing/