The 8 Best Water Filters for Apartment Living (2024)

Updated on:
January 8, 2024

New apartment or temporary rental? Don’t trust the water supply as is. 

You need to get your hands on a water filter that is easy to move and doesn’t require invasive installation. After all, you want to get your security deposit back when you move out.

After months of rigorous testing and analysis, I’ve handpicked the best water filters designed for apartment living and rental spaces. These filters excel in terms of portability, easy installation, long lifespan, low maintenance, relevant certifications, and cost-effectiveness. 

1. Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher: 9.55/10

  • Best for drinking water 
  • $90.00

Your first concern in a new apartment — after cleaning the bathroom, of course — should be to clean your drinking water supply. The Clearly Filtered water pitcher effectively removes chlorine, dirt, heavy metals, microplastics, PFAS, and over 300+ other contaminants from tap water. 

Pros

Water filter pitchers are nice because they’re easy to handle and they don’t take up much space. The Clearly Filtered water filter pitcher can hold 10 cups of water and filter about 100 gallons of water before needing a filter replacement. 

What I love about this pitcher is its robust Affinity Filtration Technology which features chemical adsorption to capture chlorine, dirt, inorganics, and other pollutants commonly found in tap water. The water also passes through a granular coconut carbon and composite shell. Clearly Filtered is super transparent about its filter’s capabilities, which says a lot about the quality. 

You can have the peace of mind knowing that Clearly Filtered is independently certified by the NSF against the standards 42, 53, 401 & 473.

This pitcher easily fits in refrigerator doors. I particularly like its easy grip feature that allows you to hold it without a problem. Plus, it is made of BPS/BPA-free plastic and medical grade Tritan materials which makes it safe and strong. 

Unlike typical filters on the market that last a few weeks at most, the Clearly Filtered water filter lasts four months before needing a replacement. And the replacements will cost you just $49.50. 

The best thing about the Clearly Filtered water pitcher is it comes with a limited lifetime warranty and a 30-day worry free trial. 

Cons

One major drawback of this filter is that it doesn’t have a filter life indicator. If you forget to track the filter’s life, you might end up sipping on some unwelcome pollutants. 

Overall

The Clearly Filtered water pitcher will save you the trouble of installing or modifying your plumbing to achieve clean drinking water. It’s easy to use and removes a variety of common pollutants. Plus, you can have peace of mind because it is independently certified by the NSF to remove tricky pollutants like lead and fluoride in water. 

So, if you’re looking for a convenient and affordable solution for clean drinking water in your apartment, get yourself a Clearly Filtered water filter pitcher

2. iSpring RCC7AK-UV Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis System: 8.70/10

  • High-quality RO under-sink filter
  • $218

The iSpring reverse osmosis under-sink filter is another powerful option to produce fresh and clean drinking water from your kitchen tap. It is equipped with six stages of filtration and offers remineralization as well. 

Pros

The iSpring under-sink water filter features sediment, granular-activated, and carbon filters as prefilters. This strong combination strips your water of dirt and chlorine particles. The next stage is a 0.0001-micron reverse osmosis membrane that traps a boatload of contaminants, from bacteria and viruses to heavy metals. It is NSF certified for TDS reduction. 

The RO filter is so powerful that it even takes away essential minerals. But no need to worry because iSpring adds healthy minerals back into your water through a remineralization filter. This restores the pH balance and also improves the taste of the water. 

In case your water is heavily contaminated with bacteria and viruses, you have the option to equip it with a UV water sterilizer, which will effectively eliminate all microorganisms present.

The iSpring will produce up to 75 gallons of water daily, which is decent enough for a small- to medium-sized family. 

The iSpring filter is very easy to install. You can find detailed tutorials on iSpring’s YouTube channel.

I like that iSpring provides a one-year manufacturing warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee on its products. 

Cons

The prefilters will need replacement every 6–12 months while the RO filter will last up to two years. Some users may find swapping and maintaining this filter a bit too hectic. 

Keep in mind that for installing an under-sink unit, you might need to drill a hole in the PVC drain pipe and your countertop. Your rental agreement might not allow this, so consult your property management first. 

Overall

The iSpring under-sink RO filter is a beast against pollutants like chlorine, dirt, heavy metals, microbes, and other inorganic compounds in water. Though it’s a high-maintenance filter, it will ensure you don’t consume any harmful pollutants. 

If your rental agreement allows you to drill holes in your sink counter, get yourself an iSpring under-sink filter today. 

3. Waterdrop Tankless RO Under-Sink Filter: 7.50/10 

  • Fits in tight spaces
  • $539

Waterdrop RO undersink filter boasts a sleek and modern design, compact enough to fit in small spaces. The filter is NSF certified to remove a variety of pollutants. Plus it comes with a stylish faucet with a smart screen that shows TDS levels and the remaining filter life. 

Pros

Since apartments often have limited kitchen space, you might be in the market for something compact that can easily fit under your counter. The Waterdrop RO tankless under-sink filter fits easily in tight spaces. It’s priced at $539 and boasts eight stages of filtration, including activated carbon, scale inhibitor, and the mighty reverse osmosis membrane. 

This robust system can produce 0.42 gallons of fresh and clean water every minute. You can expect it to filter up to 600 gallons per day, which is superb. The filter replacement cost runs around $90. 

Its tankless design can save up to 70% of your under-sink space. Plus, it takes just 30 minutes to install it and only a few seconds to replace the old filters. 

I like that this filter is third-party certified by the NSF/ANSI against standards 58 & 372. 

Another big benefit you can get out of this system is it comes with a smart faucet that shows the filter life and TDS levels of the water. 

Lastly, Waterdrop offers a 30-day warranty on its units. 

Cons

Some folks might think this is a pricey purchase. Plus, you’d have to drill a hole in your kitchen counter, just like any other under-sink filter. Another downside is that it needs power to work, which can be a hassle if you experience power outages.

Overall

The Waterdrop tankless filter is designed to maximize your kitchen space while providing you with the freshest and healthiest water. With its low-maintenance system, you can enjoy pure water without hassle. It is NSF certified and can tackle many tricky pollutants in the tap water. If you don’t mind drilling a hole in your countertop, you can purchase this unit here

4. PUR PLUS Faucet Mount Water Filtration System

Another great option if you’re temporarily living in an apartment is to get a faucet filter. These are quite affordable and easy to install and uninstall.

The PUR PLUS faucet-mount filtration system — priced at just $34.7 — uses high-quality activated carbon and ion exchange to remove a laundry list of contaminants including the tricky ones like lead, mercury, and pesticides. 

One big benefit of this brand is it openly displays the performance sheet of its filters on the website. This faucet filter is NSF/ANSI certified against standards 41, 53 and 401 for the removal of pollutants including chlorine, VOCs, and mercury. 

The filter is super easy to attach. It takes only 10 minutes to screw it onto your faucet. And the best part is it can be attached to any standard faucet.

The PUR PLUS has a filter life of 2–3 months, with replacement filters costing $30. Plus maintenance is very easy too. You just need to disassemble it, inspect it, and clean it according to the instructions from the brand. 

You know what else is really cool about this faucet filter? It has a feature called the CleanSensor Monitor display, which basically uses different colored lights to show you how much life is left in the filter. It’s such a clever way to keep track of when it needs to be replaced. 

One thing to keep in mind about this tap water filter is that it’s designed in a sideways manner, which might pose a challenge if you don’t have a dishwasher. It can make washing dishes in the sink a bit tricky because the faucet water filter takes up space and blocks access to the sink itself.

Plus, some customers reported that this filter leaked after some time.

Overall, though, it’s a decent choice for apartments and rentals. 

5. Propur ProOne BIG+

Propur ProOne gravity filter — priced at $229.95 — works without electricity and is NSF certified to remove stubborn pollutants like PFOS, fluoride, lead, and parasites. 

What’s really cool about this unit is that the replacement filters are silver lined. That means it does an awesome job of kicking bacteria’s butt in your drinking water. Those silver ions destroy microbes by breaking their membrane and binding to their DNA, putting a stop to their growth. 

What I like about this gravity filter is it can last well over 12 months, unlike typical gravity filters that last only six months. It’s made of stainless steel and has a holding capacity of 3 gallons. You can easily move it and assemble it wherever you want. 

If you’re feeling suspicious, you can check out detailed lab reports here to put your mind at ease.

A drawback of this gravity-fed filter is its tendency to have a leaky faucet. It seems that ProOne could improve its spigot design.

6. Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter

If you’re looking for the best shower filter for your apartment, the Aquasana AQ-4100 will not disappoint you. The filter will remove 90% of chlorine in city water and also balances pH levels. 

What sets it apart from typical shower filters is its Upflow technology that reduces the chances of clogging the showerhead with scale. It will produce 2.5 gallons per minute and clean about 10,000 gallons of water before needing a replacement. 

Most importantly, it is NSF/ANSI 61 certified to remove chlorine. 

The downside, however, is that the Aquasana shower filter will not remove hard minerals in your water. While its carbon filter is certified, I couldn’t find any certification that proved its KDF filter can remove heavy metals. Showerhead filter manufacturers often claim their products can remove heavy metals when, in reality, they’re just not big enough to house the necessary tech.

Still, it’s a good addition to your apartment if you suffer from high levels of chlorine in water. 

7. LifeStraw GO Water Filter Bottle

If you’re living alone and don’t want any expensive or high-maintenance filter, you could simply get yourself a water filter bottle.

LifeStraw’s GO 22-ounce water filter bottle uses a 0.2-micron filter and an activated-carbon filter to remove bacteria, viruses, chlorine, and heavy metals in tap water. 

Priced at just $44.95, LifeStraw’s micron filter can last up to 1000 gallons, while its carbon filter will need replacement after every 26 gallons. I like that this brand offers nine different colors to choose from. You could even choose between BPA-free plastic and stainless-steel bottles. 

LifeStraw bottles are NSF certified against standards 42 and P231 for the removal of contaminants. 

There are a couple of drawbacks to consider with this water bottle. First, it tends to leak quite a bit, which can be frustrating. 

Second, it lacks any insulation, so if you’re using it in the summertime, you’ll only get a few hours of cool water with ice cubes before it warms up. This could be especially challenging if you’re in a remote location without access to refrigeration. 

8. AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis Filter

The AquaTru RO filter is a sleek countertop filter that eliminates the need for complex installations or drilling holes in your counter. This RO filter is certified to remove lead, fluoride, arsenic, chlorine, and nitrates in water. However, it’s quite expensive.

The AquaTru features a four-stage Ultra Reverse Osmosis technology that can produce 600–1200 gallons of clean water. This means you won’t need to change the filters every 2–3 months.

I like that this filter has a digital display that lets the user know when it’s time to change the filter. Its triangular tank can hold up to 3 gallons of purified water and can fit in tight spaces easily. 

It owns NSF certifications and also displays a performance data sheet that you can access yourself here

One big issue with this filter is it requires power to operate. If you’re living in an area that faces frequent power outages, it might not work for you. 

Another problem is that the AquaTru reverse osmosis filter is pretty expensive. Not everyone wants to drop a ton of cash on a filter for their apartment, you know?

The Bottom Line

When searching for a water filter suitable for an apartment, it’s important to consider limited space and easy, noninvasive installation. After conducting thorough research and analysis of water filters over five months, I confidently say that Clearly Filtered pitcher is the top choice for an apartment water filter.

It effectively removes chlorine, dirt, and other contaminants found in tap water. The certified Affinity Filtration technology ensures high-quality filtration. The pitcher fits in refrigerator doors and has an easy grip for comfortable handling. 

What sets Clearly Filtered apart is its limited lifetime warranty and a 30-day free trial. 

Plus, it’s budget friendly and won’t cause any landlord-induced nightmares. 

You can buy it here.

Research Methodology 

If you’re wondering how I ended up with my list of top water filters for an apartment, this section is dedicated to you. 

Step 1: A big list of water filtration systems 

To kick off my research in finding the finest apartment filters, I began by compiling an extensive list of all the available options on the market. I categorized them into various types, including water pitcher filters, faucet-mounted filters, countertop filters, under-sink filters, gravity filters, ultraviolet water purifiers, garden hose filters, and tankless reverse osmosis (RO) units. 

After a day’s worth of digging, I had amassed a substantial collection of popular filters to delve into.

Step 2: Online reviews

To refine my selection further, I decided to delve into the realm of online reviews and testimonials. I scoured platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and trusted websites such as Consumer Reports, Angie’s List, and Amazon. 

This meticulous exploration proved invaluable as it helped me weed out filters with poor performance, low efficiencies, design defects, and low flow rates.

Step 3: Product analysis

With the goal of narrowing down the options further, I shifted my focus to understanding crucial factors to consider when selecting a water filter for an apartment. 

First, I delved into typical rental agreements to ascertain any restrictions regarding drilling holes or making permanent changes to the plumbing system. This information was essential to ensuring compatibility with apartment living. 

Additionally, I explored the flow rates, filter life, and associated costs of various water filters. By delving into these details, I gained a comprehensive understanding of the practical aspects and financial implications tied to each filter option.

Step 4: Interviews with real customers

To make my research even more comprehensive, I decided to reach out to real-life customers who had actually used the filters on my list. It was amazing to connect with these individuals and hear their personal experiences and thoughts. 

Their insights were incredibly valuable, providing me with a deeper understanding of each filter’s performance, usability, and overall satisfaction. Thanks to their helpful feedback, I was able to refine my list further and eliminate filters that didn’t meet the mark.

Step 5: Interviews with the companies

As part of my research, I interviewed the companies on my list and asked them about warranties and certifications. Some were really helpful and provided detailed answers, showing their commitment to customers. However, a few companies ignored my messages. Their responses (or lack thereof) gave me a good sense of their professionalism and dedication.

Step 6: Test drives

Time for the fun part! 

I got to test the filters myself, which is always my favorite step. I bought some filters, rented others, and even got myself an at-home testing kit. For three whole months, I put these filters through the wringer, using good ol’ city water. 

I wanted to see how they performed in real-life situations. Not only that, but I also checked how easy they were to install and maintain. It was like being a DIY scientist in my own home. By personally experiencing their functionality and observing their impact on water quality, I gained valuable insights that helped me rank the filters better. 

Step 7: Ratings

After gathering all the necessary information, it was time for the final step. 

I compiled everything into a spreadsheet and scored each filter based on various criteria. I wanted to make sure my evaluation was fair and unbiased. With the data in place, I ran a few formulas to calculate the final ranking. 

It was exciting to see how each filter stacked up against the others. This comprehensive approach allowed me to confidently present the top choices based on a thorough and objective scoring system.

Best Water Filter for Apartment Living: Final Thoughts

After diving deep into five months of thorough research, I can happily declare that the Clearly Filtered pitcher is hands down the best choice. Trust me, I’ve done all the legwork to ensure you’re making a fantastic decision!

Here are a few characteristics that make this filter stand out:

  • Removes chlorine, dirt, lead, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and PFOS
  • NSF certified to remove a variety of pollutants
  • Easy grip
  • Limited lifetime warranty 
  • 30 days free trial

If you’re on the lookout for a water filter that won’t break the bank and won’t give your rental agreement a heart attack, then look no further than the Clearly Filtered water filter pitcher!

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