The Brita Marella XL water filter pitcher was a miss for us. Its Maxtra filter core proved super effective in our high chlorine concentration test producing fine-tasting water. However, it took its sweet time to do the job and left visible particle traces in the filtered water. The design has strong points, namely a stable handle and a convenient pour-through lid, but those were not enough to make up for its faults. For one, the overly tight lid made every cleaning or replacement session a struggle. Additionally, the lack of a spigot means dispensing at full capacity requires some strength for its XL size and weight.
This filter pitcher delivered less than promised and was a no-go for us.
Things We Like
- See-through reservoir
- Stylish and strong handle
- Beautiful color choices
- High effectiveness against chlorine
Things We Don’t Like
- Poor fitting of lid
- Slow flow rate
- Leaking of filter material
- Short filter life
Brita is a veteran and a go-to brand for many American homes—its trademark has almost become a generic name for filter pitchers. The success of the decade-old Brita Everyday, which performed like a charm in our tests, gave us every reason to believe the Brita Marella XL would excel. After all, it looks so much glossier and features a new generation filter core.
Yet, the sleek look and brand moniker didn’t get it very far in our tests. If there’s a black sheep among Brita filter pitchers, it’s likely the Marella XL.
Where to Buy Price at publication $42.26
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Compared to Other Water Filter Pitchers
A filter pitcher’s performance depends heavily on the filter, and the Marella XL is no exception. The Brita Maxtra filter core worked great to reduce chlorine and improve the taste and smell of the water while retaining total dissolved solids (TDS). On the other hand, you have to suffer a slow flow rate.
We didn’t check the Maxtra’s effectiveness against heavy metals, but we can confirm it had no problem dealing with the extra high chlorine content in our test water. Therefore, tap water, with its much lower chlorine concentration (typically at 0.2 - 1 mg/l, and up to 4 mg/l), should not be a problem for this filter.
1.0 Flow Rate
Similar to other pitchers using the Maxtra filter core, the Brita Marella clocked a fairly low speed. At a flow rate of 3.2 ml/sec, this pitcher takes more than a minute to fill a standard glass of water. If you plan on using it for drinking and cooking water, you’ll need to refill in advance. On the bright side, because the reservoir is large, you won’t need to refill as often.
9.3 Taste & Smell
The Brita Maxtra filter managed to reduce the chlorine without removing too much of the dissolved solids (TDS). The filtered water had a plain, neutral taste with no smell, as clean water should. Unfortunately, the filter did leak small particles, which affected the aesthetics somewhat but not the taste and smell of the water.
The Brita Marella XL features a strong handle that supports its heavy weight during pouring and refilling. It also has a convenient pour-through door which is more hygienic than most other pitchers. Unfortunately, the ill-fitted lid was a hassle to deal with and was prone to damage during cleaning and replacement. The filter also leaked particles into filtered water. In addition, the XL size suggests a spigot would have been useful.
In the Box
- Brita Marella XL water filter pitcher
- 2 x user guides
- Promotional leaflets
The Brita Marella XL comes with one Maxtra filter (not preinstalled), one booklet manual in seven different languages, and promotional materials. The manual is available on Brita’s website too if you happen to lose it.
Since the included Maxtra filter has a rather modest lifespan (1 month), we recommend buying a bundle of filters to save time and possibly money.
6.5 Build Quality
The Brita Marella looks and feels robust, but it has one major faux pas. The lid fits a little too tight, requiring a measure of force during assembly and disassembly. We’re not sure if the small holes on the pitcher rim and lid are for alignment or for reducing pressure, but they didn’t make the process easier. More often than not, the whole reservoir lifted up when we tried to remove the lid. Replacing the lid also involves pressing down with some force. As a result, small scratches and cracks have started to appear where the lid and pitcher handle conjoin after only a few weeks of testing.
Other than the poor fitting, the Marella is a well built pitcher. Its handle is a closed loop, ensuring stability during pouring and refilling. Like all new-generation Brita pitchers, this one has a sleek finish, so you don’t have to hide it from view.
The Marella XL features a pour-through lid with a trap flap that you lift up for refilling. This is more hygienic than the usual downward trap door as water doesn’t run on it before reaching the reservoir. Like most other Britas, it has the classic Memo filter life indicator right on its lid.
As for its size, the Marella XL can fit in a standard refrigerator, but you may need to remove a shelf to make room. For the same reason it won’t fit into a standard door bin. The pitcher doesn’t come with a spigot and it’s quite heavy, so single-handed pouring or refilling isn’t an option for those with weaker arms or wrists.
The Brita Maxtra is easy to install and never once did we encounter clogging.
Although it was highly effective against chlorine, small filter particles leaked into the water. This was an issue with a number of models. It was mild and almost undetectable on the Aluna, but the Marella fared much worse. After allowing a filled Marella XL to stand for a few days, we noticed black particles at the bottom of the pitcher. We didn’t know if it was activated carbon or something else, but we were sure of two things: one, it could only have come from the filter and two, we didn’t want it in our drinking water.
Though it doesn’t look so different from other Britas, the Marella XL proved to be a lot less user-friendly. Its weight when full made lifting a light arm and wrist workout, while the ill-fitted lid sometimes required both tact and strength to remove or resecure.
Unlike many other pitchers, however, the Marella XL is dishwasher friendly, which can be a consolation for those with ‘chufxishophobia’ (fear of kitchen sink).
Despite its seemingly simple design with only a few parts, the Marella XL is one of the most difficult pitcher filters to assemble and disassemble. The problem lies with the tight fit of the lid and reservoir, which requires excessive force to handle. Without a grippy part, we had to open the lid through the refill door. Moreover, it stuck so tightly the whole reservoir and filter compartment typically lifted out together.
Because of the poor fit, we sometimes had to exert some force when replacing the lid. The trick is to start at the part near the handle before trying on the rest.
With a pour-through lid, the Marella allows for single-handed refilling. We liked that we could press a finger to lift up the lid flap. It’s not only more hygienic but also reduces fears of splashing compared to the typical push-down design.
The pitcher requires two refills to reach its max capacity at 9 cups (about 2200 ml).
On the up side, with the tightly secured reservoir, it is impossible for unfiltered water to leak into the flow during pouring —even when half full. The spout lid does widen the stream a little, but there’s no splashing unless you tilt the pitcher suddenly.
As mentioned, the pitcher can be quite heavy when full (it’s an XL after all!), so a spigot would have been really useful.
The Marella XL can be put into a dishwasher, but the length of the funnel suggests hand cleaning would be better. As with other Brita pitchers that use a Maxtra filter, the funnel is designed so that there’s always water present, which is likely to prevent air clogging or the filter drying out. However, this is a good environment for bacteria and algae if you leave it unused for too long.
Behind the review
Anh Ngo is a writer with 9 years experience at different media outlets, covering from public news and events to product testing and analysis. At HealthyKitchen101, she works across different departments, communicating closely with its network of writers, editors, and health, tech, and search engine experts to provide a meaningful and pleasant reading experience for visitors.
Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.
Nguyen Ntk is a graphic designer, photographer, and videographer whose philosophy centers around respecting and celebrating the beauty of reality. Through his lenses, Nguyen strives to capture the true essence of objects and events, showcasing and highlighting authentic features without distortion or exaggeration.