What is the best water filter in the UK?
How to find the best water filter in the UK? This is a question we asked ourselves several years ago, after spending endless hours researching water filters and testing them out, here’s what we discovered:
- There is endless choice when it comes to water filters
- There is a water filter for every budget, space and need
- All water filters are not made equal – compare by checking for
- Percentage of contaminants removed
- What micron size it removes (filter micron removal size)
- Types of contaminants removed or absorbed by filters
- Type and quality of the carbon and GAC/KDF filter media
- The filter lifetime normally based on volume of water passing through them
- Whether the water is re-mineralized and alkaline and tastes great or whether it is flat and lifeless.
There is no one filter that does everything, you need lots of stages of filtration. As with most things in life, if you want the best you need to pay for quality.
To find out more about the full range of Tapure filtered water products go to the Tapure website.
Before we get into the detail of different types of water filters, a quick word on bottled water (see ‘Why Filtered Water?’ for more on bottled water). For us, bottled water just isn’t a sustainable or affordable option – too much plastic, too much waste, too many trips to the shops and it will cost you much more in the long run. Moving on …
Types of Water Filters
Fridge Water Filter
This comes built into your fridge. It is normally a granular activated carbon or carbon block filter to absorb chlorine and the bad taste or smells from the water. This is only one stage of filtration and doesn’t take out potential viruses and bacteria. New advanced combination filters are now available with longer life and better impurity removal.
Water Filter Jugs
A water jug or pitcher (e.g. Brita) is a simple method of purifying your tap water. A water filter jug normally has only one filter so only has limited ability to purify water. It removes some contaminants and can help prevent limescale. With prices starting at £20 for a water filter jug this can seem like a very cheap way of getting filtered water. However, watch out for filter cartridge costs and how often you have to replace them (some as often as every 4 weeks).
Tap Faucet Filters
This is a filter that you fit directly onto your kitchen tap. It usually uses ultrafiltration membrane filtration and removes a reasonable amount of contaminants. Again this is usually only one stage of filtration. Pricing for a good quality tap filter is around £25. Watch out for how often you need to replace filters (often every 3 months) and costs of these. Also, let’s be honest, it’s quite an ugly bulky attachment to put onto your kitchen tap.
A shower filter is attached to each individual shower and uses various methods of filtration (such as activated carbon and mineral balls) to purify your water. Using a shower filter removes some chlorine and heavy metals and some of them add minerals back into the water.
Having purified water for showering helps with skin and hair health as chlorine and other chemicals can be very drying and can aggravate skin conditions such as eczema. Shower filters generally cost around £20 – £30 per unit and filters will probably need to be replaced every 6 months.
Countertop Water Filters
Using varying methods of water filtration, a standalone countertop water filter is another option for drinking water in the kitchen. You’ll need to make space on your kitchen worktop for this and look for a model that fits in with your kitchen design. These will connect either to your faucet or mains pipe. Depending on the model you choose you can expect to pay around £170 – £800, plus filters and some countertop systems have monthly payments or maintenance options (e.g. Virgin Pure).
Disadvantages of the countertop water filter include the amount of space it takes up and that it’s really only useful for drinking water. E.g. You can’t wash vegetables under this or easily fill up a pan with water. Also, they don’t have a good output so won’t be able to produce lots of water.
Gravity-fed Water Filters
These gravity-fed or drip water filters generally have two compartments – one at the top where you pour the water onto the filters and one at the bottom with a tap to collect clean water. The best-known gravity water filter is probably the Berkey, which costs around £450 for the Big Berkey.
The Berkey is good at removing contaminants (over 200) and has a long filter life, plus it looks the part. You will, however, need to find space in your kitchen for it, find a way of raising it up to access the tap and you will spend time every day filling it up and waiting for the water to drip through. It is worth noting that they have a travel Berkey, which would be good for camping.
The water distiller (costing around £150) sits on your countertop and uses electricity to evaporate the water by heating it to boiling point. Steam is then captured and condensed into purified distilled water. Distilling water removes most contaminants except for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can’t be boiled away. This process is quite time-consuming, noisy and produces only a small amount of water, plus it uses electricity. You also get quite a flat taste to the water.
Also known as the Alkaline Ionizer, this method uses water ionization to change the molecular structure of water into antioxidant, alkaline drinking water. You also get oxidized acidic water as a by-product, which can be used for cleaning. It works by feeding the tap through a filter to reduce contaminants before it undergoes water electrolysis (requiring electricity).
The water ionizer’s strength is in producing good-tasting antioxidant-rich alkaline water, but its weakness is its limited capacity to filter or purify water. It does not remove contaminants such as sediments, organic contaminants and pharmaceuticals. Costs vary but expect to pay around £600 – £1500.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Systems
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is the process of pushing water through a semipermeable membrane (with the Tapure Water Purifer down to – 0.0001 microns!) to separate contaminants from water and produce impurity free drinking water. Reverse osmosis can remove the majority of impurities, and offers the best level of drinking and cooking water when combined with pre- and post-filters. On their own, they’ll cost around £500 to £800 for a good quality direct flow system. Some Now add UV sterilisation for the ultimate system.
As RO membranes are tiny, the water must be forced through at pressure, so you do need good water pressure. It is best to use a direct flow reverse osmosis system which has a pump and no tank is required. You then get the freshest water available. They also produce waste water (or brine) which needs to be flushed away from the membrane to stop it clogging up.
Due to RO systems’ outstanding ability to filter water and remove nearly all impurities, they make pure water – meaning the minerals are removed from the water too (e.g. calcium and magnesium, which causes limescale). This is why reverse osmosis systems are generally used alongside other filters. For example with pre-filters to remove some contaminants first and protect the life of the reverse osmosis membrane filter and post-filters to remineralize the water and make alkaline water.
Find out more about the Tapure Water Purifier, its stages of filtration and the reverse osmosis system.
Adding UV treats water with germicidal ultraviolet light. The UV wavelength scrambles the DNA of living organisms in the water, so they can no longer reproduce and make you sick. If you drink bacteria-infested water, the organisms can embed in your digestive tract and replicate. Ultraviolet radiation renders bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi unable to replicate by damaging the nucleic acids of their DNA.
UV disinfection deactivates living organisms, but it does not remove particles from water, add chemicals, or remove bad tastes and odors so this is usually the final stage.
Whole House Water Filters
A whole house water filtration system is fitted at your mains stop tap or your water supply’s point of entry (POE) and costs around £400- £ 750. The more expensive systems usually have better impurity removal and longer filter life.
The advantages of a whole house water filter are that you get cleaner water everywhere in the home all the time, with no electricity use. This is great for bathing (good for skin and hair), brushing your teeth, washing clothes, the dishwasher and provides better quality drinking water.
Some whole house systems – like Purahouse – have anti-scale filtration to reduce limescale. This prevents corrosion in your house pipework which prolongs the life of water appliances.
It should be noted that while whole house filters provide much cleaner water, they do not offer the same high level of water purification as a reverse osmosis system. That’s why we recommend having both a whole house water filter and an under sink water filter.
You will need professional installation for the whole house system as it is fitted at the point of entry, your mains tap. Be sure to check the filtration capability and how often filters need to be replaced.
Our whole house filtration system, Purahouse, is a pre-plumbed unit for easy installation.
To find out more about our Purahouse – Whole House Filtration system go to the Tapure website.
Under Sink Water Filters
The under sink water filter (or point of use POU) is connected to your kitchen tap and is hidden out of the way in your under sink cupboard. Costs vary depending on the level of filtration, type of system and technology used.
Ranging from – Sediment, Carbon block, activated carbon, GAC, Ultrafiltration, ceramic balls to name a few. These filtration systems work by absorbing, trapping or making the contaminants less harmful to produce better quality drinking water.
Sometimes under sink water filters are combined with reverse osmosis (as with the Tapure Water Purifier), sometimes they just fewer filters. A combination of reverse osmosis and pre- and post-filters offers the best level of purification by separating the water from the impurities at molecular level. High-level systems autoflush the membranes to keep them healthy providing the freshest impurity free drinking water. Waste water is produced by this filtration level but new systems have improved waste water to pure ratios but this is a small price to pay for the best quality water.
What is the Best Water Filter?
We believe that the Tapure Water Purifier, with reverse osmosis filtration, is the best water filter in the UK, if not the world. Its filtering capability is outstanding, the filter life and output is excellent and the re-mineralizing post-filtration produces great tasting, re-mineralized alkaline water with a negative ORP.
When it comes to changing the filters, all that is required is a simple twist and turn to change them. There is no need to turn the water off and no complicated process to follow.
For the ultimate in luxury and convenience, you can buy the Tapure Water Purifier with a 5-in-1 tap that dispenses boiling, chilled and sparkling filtered water. For the larger kitchen, we recommend a 3-in-1 tap and our Drink Station, dispensing filtered boiling, chilled and sparkling water.
Want it all?
Buying and installing our whole house system, Purahouse, together with the state of the art Tapure Water Purifier, and a tap or drink station is an investment. It’s not the cheapest method of water filtration but it will give you water that is impurity free and tastes great. Plus, you can make your own sparkling drinks and know that you are playing your part in reducing plastic waste and living sustainably.