The Brita UltraMax comes with a powerful Elite filter that is well-built and lasts longer than most. It was able to handle a high concentration of chlorine with ease while also offering an excellent flow rate. The filter is free from material leakage—a problem affecting many pitchers and dispensers of this type. While there is some room for improvement in its design, the Brita UltraMax is generally easy to work with. If you’re a small family (up to five people) looking for a fridge-fitting water dispenser that doesn’t require constant refilling, the UltraMax is a decent choice.
Things We Like
- Fast flow rate
- Large capacity, doesn’t require constant refilling
- Flap opening allow for easy refilling
- Durable, flexible spigot
Things We Don’t Like
- Lack of handles on two sides
- Opaque reservoir
The Brita UltraMax 27 cup comes with two filter options: the Standard filter, which lasts 1 - 2 months, and the Elite filter, which lasts three times as long and costs about $10 more. We went with the Elite filter as it seemed like a more sensible choice given the unit’s large capacity. For a total of under $40, the combo was very affordable.
At first sight, the filter dispenser has a slim body that allows it to fit in the fridge without taking too much space. Its Elite filter piece looks almost identical to the Standard filter, which repeatedly performed well in our chlorine and flow rate tests but suffered from material leakage.
After installing the filter and discarding the first tank of water as per instructions, we put this unit from the exact same series of tests. Here’s what we found about the Brita UltraMax.
The Elite filter worked like a charm against chlorine. It produced crisp, odor-free water without stripping off all the dissolved solids. The filter also took the same amount of time as some other pitchers, such as the Brita Style, to produce double the amount of clean water. If you’re tired of having to refill your pitcher constantly, this UltraMax-Elite filter combo with a large capacity and fast and efficient filter might just be the answer.
The Brita Elite filter offered a great performance in our chlorine test with the UltraMax. It managed to cut down more than 90% of the chlorine from the test water, which had a concentration of 10+ mg/l (the safe level recommended by the CDC is up to 4 mg/l).
What this means is that if you’re concerned about the chlorine in your tap water, this filter pitcher can handle it. Brita claims the Elite filter “removes 99% of lead” and “reduces more contaminants than Zerowater and PUR”, though we haven’t had the chance to confirm those with testing.
Having a similar design as the Standard filter, the Elite filter did not disappoint when it came to flow rate. It outpaced many others in this test, producing a standard glass of water in just 24 seconds.
9.7Taste & Smell
All three testers agreed that the UltraMax provided water with excellent aesthetics, with two giving it a solid 10 for the crisp but sweet taste. This filter pitcher may be a game changer for those who have been driven off by the taste and smell of tap water.
The Brita UltraMax’s design may not be a conversation starter—it looks as basic as it can possibly be. The tank walls may even feel a little flimsy, while the grips are not at their ideal positions. However, other small details, such as the lid flap, the indentation at the bottom for drainage, and the two-way spigot, are all thoroughly designed and made. Those parts add up to the UltraMax’s user-friendliness and convenience of use, setting it apart from many similar-looking filter dispensers.
In the Box
- Brita UltraMax 27 cup water filter pitcher
- 1x Brita Elite filter
- 1x user guide
The Brita UltraMax comes in a cardboard box. Included are an Elite filter and user guide.
As with all other Brita pitchers and dispensers we’ve had on our hands, the UltraMax dispenser has a decent build. All parts are made of BPA-free plastic. For its size, the pitcher walls could be a little thicker, but there must be some compensation for a lighter weight. The lid has a slightly less polished look than other Brita pitchers, with some small plastic flash on the inside, though the amount is negligible. The reservoir, filter funnel, and spigot are all well made.
There are two strong, easy-to-grip handles on the two ends of the dispenser’s depth. While their position makes the whole unit look slimmer, they actually require more space (for your arm or for wiggle room) when you place it in the fridge.
The UltraMax can fit in the cooling section of most fridges, though it may require removing one shelf to make up vertical space if the fridge is small. The dispenser has an easy-to-use spigot and a filter replacement indicator that works on both filter types it is compatible with—the Standard and Elite.
The UltraMax is compatible with the Standard and Elite filter (aka Long Last filter). They share a similar external design and are equally sturdy and easy to install. However, we went with the Elite because it can handle three times the amount of water. Given that the UltraMax’ reservoir has a 2550 ml capacity, you can refill it 178 times before a replacement is necessary. That’s about one reservoir per day over a period of six months. The Standard’s 40-gallon capacity would require very frequent replacement.
Apart from its ability to reduce chlorine, the Elite is also certified to reduce lead, mercury, cadmium, and a number of other contaminants. We’re not sure if it’s thanks to its “pleated filter design”, but we could find no black specks in the filtered water after leaving it to sit for a few days. Therefore, this filter gained a higher score than the Standard filter, which repeatedly leaked materials in our tests.
At its size and weight, moving the Brita UltraMax at full capacity and placing it into the fridge might be a little challenging to those with short or weak arms. Other than that, this filter dispenser is comparatively easy to use, assemble, and maintain.
With very basic parts, the Brita UltraMax filter dispenser is easy to put together and take apart. The lid is slightly awkward but not difficult to assemble. Its parts are grippy and easy to work with. However, they do not fit as tightly as a pitcher would, nor do they need to because dispensing is via a spigot, not spout.
Instead of a small trap door like on a pitcher, the UltraMax features a lid with two flap openings. You can add water without taking the whole unit out of the fridge, by pulling the dispenser to the front until you can open up the small flap. Most people take the whole unit out to refill, however, and the lack of grippy parts on its two sides make the process a little awkward.
The reservoir has a whopping capacity of 2550 ml, and you have to refill twice before the lower tank is full.
The Brita Ultramax has a durable and well-designed spigot. It looks sturdy and secure but works both ways, allowing you to take water by gently pressing or pulling the lever. The spigot offers excellent flow control and we’ve experienced no splashing or leaking with it thus far.
There’s a small area near the spigot that’s lower than the rest of the tank that works to support maximum drainage of water. However, the spigot is placed higher than the bottom of the tank and we could not empty the tank completely through it.
While not made to survive a dishwasher, the Brita UltraMax is otherwise easy to clean. The only part is the inside of the spigot, which we recommend disinfecting routinely with mild vinegar.
About your guide
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.