Most people find it hard to put up with the taste and odor of tap water. Who wants to drink water that smells like it’s from the pool?
Good news is, you don’t have to. As small as they may look, the best faucet water filters will get the problem solved.
These faucet mount filters are gadgets that can be installed directly onto your tap. Water is filtered as you open it, and comes out of the tap purified. This is much faster and a whole lot more convenient than a water filter pitcher, which excels at the same job but at a slower pace.
Most faucet filters are modest in size and extremely easy to install, making them a great choice for apartment renters. They’re also well-loved items among travellers who want a simple way to ensure water quality wherever they stay.
Why A Faucet Water Filter
Safe, tasty water…
Most faucet mount water filters come with a decent amount of filtration materials, allowing them to remove dozens of various contaminants from your tap water.
Some can absorb or neutralize not only chlorine but also toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic. A few types are built with materials that work to increase the pH level of your water, making it more alkaline.
The result is safe, fresh, crisp-tasting water with bottle quality right from your tap.
…without plastic bottles
Did you know that most bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water?
Also, while they can be convenient, the cost is high for both you and the environment.
The most appealing thing about bottled water is, apart from their portability, the good taste and odor. With a faucet water filter, you can have the same tasty pure water right from your tap. At a significantly lower cost, and it is also A LOT better for the earth.
Pure water immediately served
A good pitcher filter can provide sufficient clean water for drinking and occasional cooking in a small family. However, you do have to refill and wait for a few minutes before you can get a few cups of water.
If you need more than a couple gallons of pure water a day, an under tap filter is a better choice. You get clean water immediately, and a few-minutes-wait can get you a decent amount for cooking or washing.
Of course it’s not that tap filters are the answer to every water problem.
First, due to their compact size, they’re not capable of removing all the pollutants in a large amount of water. If you have serious water issues (heavy chlorination, dangerous contaminants ect), a countertop or undersink filter with large capacity and strong filtration media would be a better choice.
Second, these filters are not compatible with all types of faucets. Mostmodern faucets nowadays are made pull-down, which makes installation of a such a device impossible. Choosing a faucet just to go with the filter, meanwhile, does not sound practical.
All that said, when a quick, portable solution is needed, nothing can beat a good tap mount filter.
Review of the Best Faucet Water Filters 2021
Among dozens of tap-mount filters on the market, we selected the ones most effective in removing toxic chemicals and contaminants from tap water, with designs proved to last for years.
- Culligan FM-15A Faucet Mount Filter – Best to Buy in 2021
- PUR 3-Stage Horizontal Water Filtration – Best Runner-up
- PUR PUR-0A1 Faucet Water Filter – Best for Removing Lead
- DuPont WFFM100XCH Premier Faucet – Best for Removing Chlorine
- Waterdrop 320-Gallon Water Faucet – Best New Faucet Filter
Here’s our picks for the Best Faucet Water Filters.
1. Culligan FM-15A Faucet Mount Filter – Best to Buy in 2021
Long known as a trusted brand in household water treatment, Culligan makes some of the best faucet water filters on the market. And it’s not a self claim: this filtration device iscertified by the NSF.
- NSF certified
- Removes chlorine, lead, VOCs
- Improves water smell and taste
- Easy to install
- Compact design
- Slow flow
The Culligan FM-15A is made of light plastic with a sleek chrome finish. It comes with 2 connectors, and can easily match with most standard taps (but no pull-down, pull-out, or unusual tap heads). Installation is easy and can be done within a couple minutes.
If you use one of the spare connectors and it leaks there, call the company for a replacement. Or, if you prefer it fast, get a metal connector from a hardware store.
With filter off being the default, the device allows you to switch to filtered water by pulling out the knob on its side. Water flow will slow down quite a bit, but will still be sufficient for normal drinking, cooking and moderate washing.
The Culligan filter is certified by NSF International against ANSI Standard 42 and 53. It means the filter can effectively reduce health-related contaminants in drinking water, and improve the water aesthetically. It also has the certification for removing chlorine, lead, VOCs, asbestos, and a large number of other pollutants.
The filtration cartridge can process 200 gallons of water before it needs replacement. That could mean somewhere between 2 and 5 months, depending on how much filtered water you consume.
The general consensus is, I believe, that when it comes to filters, the less time between replacements the better. Even if you only use filtered water for drinking, which means it will take more than a year to reach the 200 gallon mark, frequent changing of the cartridge is still advised to prevent algae and bacteria development inside the filter itself.
There’s no replacement indicator on the Culligan, so make sure you have the installation day jotted down and make a schedule to change it.
2.PUR 3-Stage Horizontal Water Filtration Faucet – Best Runner-up
If not for the fact that you have to make an inquire to get the metal connector, PUR would definitely be our first choice for a faucet filter.
- NSF certified
- Removes chlorine, lead, mercury
- Easy installation
- Built-in filter life indicator
- Beautiful design
- Prone to leaking with plastic connector
- Short filter life
Simple and compact in shape and size, the 9400B seems to be designed to make itself unnoticeable over the kitchen sink.
Like many other tap mount filters, the housing is made of plastic to reduce weight pressure on the faucet. The item doesn’t look cheap, though. Plus, it is available in black, white, chrome, stainless steel, and also platinum so it can match easily with any fancy looking faucet, sink, and kitchen decor.
Coming with a connector for standard faucet, installation of this filter is a bliss. If there’s any filtration mesh on your faucet, remove it. (Be prepared to see some dirt in there too. That’s what makes people even more determined to get water in their home filtered). Next, put on the connector before locking the item in its place. You’re pretty much done!
It’s not that the design is not flawless. It’s awesome when it works, but quality control doesn’t seem much of a thing and whether it leaks or not is purely a matter of luck. Many customers have complained about the plastic connector being not tight and durable enough, which is the major (but apparently not only) cause of leakage, sometimes right from the start.
If the metal connector is not already included in your package, and there’s a good chance it isn’t, call the company as soon as possible. They’ll send one over, free of charge.
PUR makes some of the best household filters out there, and the one included in this deal is not an exception.
It’s a cartridge that covers 3 layers of filtration materials. There’s a wrap to capture the sediments, activated coconut carbon to trap lead, cysts, carbon-based impurities, and chlorine, and a core made of healthy minerals to improve the taste of the water. The output is super crisp, fresh tasting water, as confirmed by many long term users.
This filter is NSF-certified to remove 99% of lead, 96% of mercury and 92% of certain pesticides. It can go for about 2 months, or 100 gallons of water. You will know when to change the filter: there’s a green light on the shell that will turn red when the time comes.
3. PUR FM-3700B Faucet Water Filter – Best for Removing Lead
With a vertical design and a slightly cheaper price than the 9400B, but not any lesser in filtration ability, the PUR FM-3700B easily wins our nomination for the best tap mount filter to remove lead.
- NSF certified
- Removes 99% lead
- Easy setup
- Built-in filter life indicator
- Vertical design to save space
- Small filter capacity
Coming with the filter cartridge placed vertically, FM-3700B is prefered by larger families over some other horizontal filters in this list. The reason? It takes slightly less space over the sink and reduces the chance of clunking when there’s a large pot to wash.
This particular stainless steel finish is pretty appealing too and would complement most faucets. Don’t be fooled, though: the housing is plastic. It’s so easy to get excited at the shiny coat and then when you pick it up the thing is a lot lighter than expected. While this is definitely better for your faucet, a plastic housing makes it prone to leaking and even cracking, sometimes even before you get to change the filter for the first time.
The 3700B uses the same filter as the 9400B. This filter consists of two stages of filtration that take care of sediments, cysts, heavy metals, chlorine, and one final polish that introduces healthy minerals back into the water. It’s certified to reduce 99% of lead, 96% of mercury, and 92% of certain pesticides. That is very impressive for a filter of this size.
Filter replacement is every 1 – 3 months or 100 gallons, whichever comes first. The light indicator will let you know. It’s worth noting, however, that the light is powered on an irreplaceable battery that dies within two or three years, after which you will have to either remember the time of replacement by yourself, or get a whole new unit.
4.DuPont WFFM100XCH Premier Faucet – Best for Removing Chlorine
Being one of the cheapest water filters for faucet on the market doesn’t stop the DuPont from proudly enjoying trust from the most critical water snobs. Tested against NSF 42, 53 and 372 standards, it’s the best buy when you want a small device to help remove chlorine from your tap water.
- NSF certified
- Removes chlorine, lead, VOCs
- Affordable price
- Prone to leaking
The DuPont has a plastic housing with 2 finish choices: chrome and white. At under $15, I can’t really say much thought was put into the design to make it look like a high-end product, but that’s not what a filter is for anyway.
The important thing is there’s a built-in antimicrobial product inside the housing, which supposedly prevents the development of germs inside the cartridge over time.
The item is built to stand vertically next to the tap head to save space. Coming with 2 connectors and even some plumbing tape, setup is no hassle even if you’re a noob.
DuPont uses an NSF certified filter for this set: it’s tested against standards 42, 53, and 372. Which means the media are useful in removing most of the chlorine, sediments, and heavy metals such as mercury or lead to improve not only the taste but also the safety of your tap water.
The filter included in the package is capable of handling about 100 gallons of water. When replacement time comes (which is 2 – 3 months and you have to note down the date because there’s no light indicator), you can also opt for the 200 gallon filter. It’s better to be able to not think about changing it for a good half a year.
5. Waterdrop 320-Gallon Long-Lasting Water Faucet – Best New Faucet Water Filter
Compared to Culligan or PUR, Waterdrop is a fairly new brand. As such, it seems to have learned from both the fails and the successes of its early competitors and the knowledge is reflected on its very fair products.
- Smart design
- Large capacity (320 gals)
- Strong sediment and chlorine filter
The Waterdrop tap mount filter is quite an eye candy, with a sleek, seamless white plastic housing. It’s placed vertically along the faucet, allowing more space over the sink for filling and washing tasks.
Interestingly, the setting is that the faucet will come between the filter cartridge and the filter leverage. This design in a way increases stability of the whole set, as it minimizes pressure on the cartridge when the leverage is turned. A smart move by the engi’s, if you ask me.
The Waterdrop cartridge included in the package offers five-stage filtration. There’re pre and post-filter stainless steel meshes for sediments, pre and post-filter PP cotton layers for small particles, and activated carbon to remove chlorine, organic compounds, and improve the taste and smell of the water.
The filter has one of the highest capacities among faucet mount filters: one single cartridge can take care of 320 gallons of water before retirement. That’s more than 3 times the capacity of the PURs, and 1.5 times that of the Culligan.
All in all, it sounds like a BIFL. Except: 1) the filter is not NSF certified, and 2) there is no indicator to tell you when a replacement is needed.
While the indicator is only a nice-to-have, the NSF certification means a bunch to us health-conscious folks. The lack of it is the major reason why we can’t list this as the best to buy of 2021. Nevertheless, it has all the potential, and it’s only a matter of time before Waterdrop gets qualified and makes it to the top of the list.
September 20, 2021 Update
The Waterdrop faucet filter has got its much needed certifications! It’s NSF 42-certified to reduce chlorine, taste and odor, and NSF 372-certified for lead-free material.
Did you find the faucet filter you were looking for? Share your experience with us in the comment section.
Or discover more household water filter options.