To rank the best faucet water filters, I reviewed 21 different filters and subjected them to Drinking Water’s seven-step research methodology. I also received critical feedback and insider information from James Layton, our in-house water treatment expert, a biologist with 25+ years of experience in the water industry and a consultant for the EPA.
At the end of my analysis, one faucet filter emerged as the top option: the Waterdrop FC-06. The PUR PLUS and Brita Basic did okay but neither earned the top spot. If you’re just getting started, check out our buying guide first. Here’s all the details from my extensive review:
Best Overall: Waterdrop Faucet Water Filter System 9.6/10
The Waterdrop FC-06 is the best faucet water filter on the market thanks to its effective removal of chlorine, chloramine, and other chemical contaminants, as well as its durable, 100% stainless-steel design.
The Waterdrop FC-06 earned the top spot on my list of faucet filters for the following four reasons:
Pro 1/4: Effectively filters chemical contaminants
The first reason the Waterdrop FC-06 is the #1 faucet filter is that it effectively reduces chemical contaminants, primarily chlorine, chloramine, VOCS, PFAs, herbicides, pesticides, and more by up to 99%.
It does this using activated carbon, a widely used filter media thanks to its ability to remove a wide range of contaminants commonly found in water. Activated carbon is usually charcoal or coconut shells that have been heated to expand surface area and create tons of tiny pores that trap chemicals. To help make it more effective, Waterdrop uses a larger activated carbon block than competitors, such as PUR, resulting in higher filtration rates and improved contaminant removal.
All of this means that if you want to make your bad-tasting and smelly water better, or you want to stay safe from potential chemical contamination from nearby industry or agriculture, you should get the Waterdrop FC-06 Faucet Water Filter System.
Pro 2/4: Easy installation and no tools required
The second reason the FC-06 is the top option is that it’s super easy to install.
You don’t need any tools to get set up, and the whole installation process takes five minutes, including the time it takes to open the box. All you have to do is unscrew the aerator from your current faucet. This is the little piece that attaches to your faucet and adds air to incoming water. Then, when that’s off, you pick from one of the included adapters, screw that into the same spot the aerator was, and then attach the Waterdrop unit. Let the water run for a few minutes, and that’s all there is to it.
If you want a faucet water filter system that is effective and also incredibly easy to install, you should get the Waterdrop FC-06.
Pro 3/4: Swivel design fits all sink configurations
The third thing that makes the Waterdrop FC-06 the best is its swivel design.
This allows you to adjust the angle of the filter so you can control the angle of the water flow, as well as setting your filter up to match the angle of your faucet. This will help the unit fit more seamlessly into your kitchen design. No other filter on the market, neither PUR nor Brita, offers this feature.
The bottom line is that if you want a faucet water filter that will give you the greatest control over how it looks after you install it, you should get the Waterdrop FC-06.
Pro 4/4: Built with 100% stainless steel
The fourth and final reason the Waterdrop FC-06 is #1 on my list is that it’s made with 100% stainless steel.
Most other faucet water filters, such as the Brita, PUR, and Dupont, include plastic somewhere on the design. Not that there’s anything wrong with plastic per se, but it’s inherently more likely to break, especially if it’s used for the lever that directs water flow throughout the filter. The stainless-steel design featured on the FC-06 is stronger and less likely to break.
The takeaway here is that if you want a faucet filter that will last as long as possible, you should get the Waterdrop FC-06.
Even though it’s the highest-ranked filter on this list, the Waterdrop FC-06 has three main drawbacks:
Con 1/3: Does not filter lead or fluoride
The first con of the FC-06 is that it does not filter lead or fluoride.
Now, if you read the Waterdrop FC-06 manual carefully, you will find a few instances where the company claims the filter can reduce lead and fluoride levels. Technically, this is possible. Activated carbon can remove lead and fluoride from water, but it is far from the most effective method for doing it. And the presence of other contaminants in your water, such as chlorine, chloramine, and VOCs, will dramatically reduce its ability to reduce lead and fluoride.
If lead or fluoride were the only things in your water, then this filter would reduce the presence of each, but only by a little. But since almost all city water in the world has chlorine, chloramine, and VOCs, it would not be smart to buy this filter for its lead or fluoride reduction capabilities.
In fact, due to the chemical makeup of both lead and fluoride, special filters specifically designed to remove them are your best bet. Fortunately, I have done an exhaustive review of the best filters for fluoride and the best filters for lead removal to help point you in the right direction.
Con 2/3: Not suitable for well water
Another downside of the FC-06 is that it’s not suitable for well water.
This is because the filter media used by Waterdrop — activated carbon — is not effective against most well water contaminants, including iron, sulfur, and manganese.
If you own a private well and want to filter your water, testing your water is extremely important. With accurate test results, you can match your filter to the contaminants you’re trying to remove. Check out my review of the best well water filters to help you better understand this type of filtration and get the right solution for you.
Con 3/3: Won’t fit nonstandard faucets
The second downside of the Waterdrop FC-06 is that while it fits most faucets, it will not fit all faucets.
If you have what’s called a “standard” faucet, you will be able to use one of the three included adapters to hook up the FC-06. If it is not standard, however, you won’t be able to use this filter. The company has made it clear which faucets will not work, so it’s best to do a little investigation into your current setup before placing an order. Here are the faucets Waterdrop says won’t work:
The Waterdrop FC-06 is the best faucet water system available on today’s market thanks to its effective filtration of chlorine, chloramine, and the many other chemical contaminants found in city water.
It’s true that it doesn’t filter lead or fluoride, but the FC-06 features an all-stainless-steel design that is stronger than comparable products.
If you want to improve the taste, odor, and safety of your tap water, I recommend you get the product that ranked #1 on my list, the Waterdrop FC-06 Faucet Water System.
#2 PUR PLUS Horizontal Mount Faucet Filtration System 8.9/10
The PUR PLUS horizontal mount system is the #2 option on my list because of its effective removal of chlorine and chloramine and because of its two-year warranty.
There are four main reasons why the PUR PLUS faucet filter earned the #2 spot in my ranking:
Pro 1/4: Effective removal of chlorine and chloramine
The first reason the PUR PLUS ranked #2 is its effectiveness at removing 99% of chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, PFAs, and other chemical contaminants often found in city water.
It’s able to remove these contaminants at such high rates because the filter is primarily made of activated carbon, a material whose chemical makeup causes it to attract these chemicals and stick, removing them from water. The PUR PLUS filter also includes a mineral stage in which the filtered water runs over stones designed to improve taste. I didn’t notice a difference, but some who participated in my test did.
All in all, to improve the taste and smell of your water coming from chemicals, and to make it safer, you can get the PUR PLUS faucet filter.
Pro 2/4: Filter change indicator light helps with maintenance
The second thing that helped the PUR PLUS rank so highly was the included indicator light that lets you know when the filter needs to be changed.
To remain effective, all filters need to be changed regularly when they become saturated with whatever it is they’re removing. The PUR PLUS features a nifty light that will change colors to alert you when it’s time to change the filter, which is once every three months or about 100 gallons. Now, all this light is doing is measuring time, not actual water use. If you use your filter a lot, which often happens if you don’t turn it off when you wash dishes, you will likely need to replace it more often.
All in all, if you want a solution that helps you remember to change filters and keep your device working optimally, you can get the PUR PLUS water faucet.
Pro 3/4: Easy installation with adapters included for most faucets
The third biggest upside of the PUR PLUS faucet system is that it’s super simple to install and requires no tools.
In this category, the PUR PLUS and the Waterdrop filter ranked #1 are dead equal. Both include multiple adapters so they can be installed on different faucet types, and both can be set up in a matter of minutes using nothing but your hands. No tools are required.
So, if you’re looking for a faucet water filter that can be installed in under five minutes by pretty much anyone, you can get the PUR PLUS faucet mount system.
Pro 4/4: Includes a two-year warranty
The fourth pro of the PUR PLUS faucet filter, and one area where it does beat out the Waterdrop, is its two-year warranty.
There isn’t much to these systems, which means there isn’t much that could break. But in today’s throwaway consumer culture, most faucet filters out there won’t make it a full calendar year. In general, I find the stainless-steel build on the Waterdrop to be sturdier, but PUR PLUS has set itself apart by offering a two-year warranty on its filter, which means the company will repair or replace any manufacturer defects or issues within two years of purchase.
If you want a faucet water filter that comes with the best warranty on the market, get the PUR PLUS faucet filter.
There’s a lot to like about the PUR PLUS, but it has four main drawbacks, which is why it ranked #2 on my spot:
Con 1/4: Fixed horizontal design
The first downside of the PUR PLUS faucet filter is that it has a fixed horizontal design.
Unlike the Waterdrop filter ranked #1, the filter cannot be adjusted based on the angle of your faucet. In many cases, this will not cause too many issues. But if your sink is small, on an angle, or oddly shaped, then you may find this product doesn’t work for you. Waterdrop’s design is much more universal and is unlikely to cause a compatibility issue with your sink’s design.
If you want a faucet filter that gives you more customizable configurations, then you should go with option #1 on my list.
Con 2/4: Not designed for lead or fluoride
Another downside of the PUR PLUS faucet filter, much like the Waterdrop filter, is that it’s not effective against lead or fluoride.
However, what is concerning about PUR PLUS is that it claims it can reduce lead, but then when you get “under the hood” of this filter and find nothing more than activated carbon, this claim doesn’t hold any water (pun intended). Sure, if there was absolutely nothing else in the water and low levels of lead, it could reduce concentrations by 99% as it indicates, but under normal conditions, do not expect this type of performance. This claim is misleading and a bit concerning.
In general, faucet water filters are not designed to remove these types of contaminants because they require special filter media. Including them would make these filters too large. If you’re worried about or want to reduce lead or fluoride, check out my reviews of the best fluoride filters and the best filters for lead removal.
Con 3/4: Plastic connections and lever
The third area where the PUR PLUS lost points in my ranking was in its use of plastic for connections and levers.
At first glance, the plastic seems just fine. But after repeated use, it will not hold up as well as the stainless-steel components used on the Waterdrop filter. Yes, PUR PLUS does come with a two-year warranty, which is encouraging. But I personally prefer the more durable materials used in the Waterdrop filter.
Con 4/4: Filter change indicator light battery not replaceable
The last thing that docked points from PUR PLUS was that the indicator battery light is not replaceable. Once it dies, that’s it. It will no longer be a useful feature.
As I mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t completely rely on this light to keep track of when you need to change the filter since a number of factors apply. But it is still better than nothing. The fact that once the battery dies this feature is useless is a bit frustrating and part of the reason why the PUR PLUS did not rank higher in my review.
The bottom line is that the PUR PLUS is an excellent faucet filter option thanks to its effectiveness at removing chlorine, chloramine, and other chemicals and because of its convenient filter change indicator light.
It’s true that the company is misleading a bit when they say it can remove lead because it really cannot, but it does come with a two-year warranty, which is the longest warranty available in the faucet filter market.
If you want an excellent filter with a unique horizontal mount design, then you can get the PUR PLUS faucet mount filter system.
#3 Brita Basic Water Filter Faucet System 8.4/10
The Brita Basic Water Filter Faucet System is a solid faucet filter that earned the #3 spot on my list thanks to its effectiveness against chlorine, chloramine, and other chemicals, as well as its friendly price point, but it’s not as durable as the Waterdrop.
The Brita faucet filter ranked in the top three on my list for four reasons:
Pro 1/4: Effective removal of chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, and other chemicals
The first reason the Brita Basic earned the #3 spot on my ranking is that it effectively removes 99% of chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, PFAs, and other common chemical contaminants.
It’s able to do this using the exact same filter media used in options #1 and #2: activated carbon. I mentioned this was one of the most common media used thanks to its effectiveness, which is why you see it in every filter.
The Brita Basic Water Filter Faucet System is a more-than-acceptable option if you need a filter to improve the taste and odor problems caused by chemical contamination of water.
Pro 2/4: Easy to install and fits most faucets
The second positive aspect of the Brita faucet filter is that, like the first two options on this list, it can be installed without any tools and in a matter of minutes.
Design-wise, this filter is almost identical to the other two. The biggest difference is that it comes in an all-plastic housing, which I discuss below.
The Brita Basic filter is a good choice if you’re looking for a faucet filter that is easy to install.
Pro 3/4: One-click filter change design makes maintenance easy
The third important pro of the Brita faucet filter is that it features a one-click filter design that makes maintenance super easy.
These filters need to be replaced every few months to remain effective, and unlike other filters where you need to fully unscrew the filter housing to remove the old filter and install the new one, Brita’s housing is removed with the press of a button. To install the new one, you just push it into the bottom of the filter until you hear a “click.”
This means that if you want a faucet filter that has the easiest filter change mechanism, you can get the Brita Basic Water Filter Faucet System.
Pro 4/4: Slightly cheaper than Waterdrop and PUR
The fourth and final positive of the Brita filter, and what really sets it apart from other filters on this list, is that it is cheaper.
The main reason for this is that Brita built its filter entirely with plastic, which is inherently less expensive than stainless steel, the material used in the Waterdrop and PUR PLUS filters. While this is also a downside to this product, for some, the up-front savings are hard to beat.
What this means is that if you’re after the best filter you can buy for the least amount of money, you should get the Brita Basic Water Filter Faucet System.
The Brita didn’t rank any higher for two reasons:
Con 1/2: Does not remove lead effectively
Just like the Waterdrop and PUR filters, the Brita Basic is not an effective solution against lead, despite claims by Brita.
Some of these claims come from their NSF/ANSI 53 certification, which evaluates the materials used in a filter and compares that with the claims made about contaminant removal. As we discussed, activated carbon can remove some lead under the right conditions, but it’s far from the most effective means of doing it. This is why this claim is misleading, but also why all the filter companies get away with saying it.
Con 2/2: Cheap, plastic build could lead to leaks down the road
The biggest knock against the Brita Basic and why it’s ranked #3 is that its plastic build comes off as cheap and not durable.
Considering the best warranty among faucet filters is just two years, none of these products are going to last you a lifetime. I wish that weren’t the case. But the plastics used here do not inspire the same confidence as the stainless-steel design used in the Waterdrop filter. In speaking with past customers and drawing on reviews people have left, leaks are not uncommon after a year or so, which leads to frustration and eventual replacement.
Yes, the Brita Basic is cheaper up front, but if you want something that has a much better chance of lasting longer, you should go with option #1 or option #2 on this list.
The Brita Basic Water Filter Faucet System is a solid choice and ranked #3 on my list due to its effectiveness against chemical contamination and also its one-click filter change system.
Its biggest knock was that it’s made entirely of plastic, which comes off as cheaper and less durable than the top options, but it is also less expensive, which could be a meaningful trade-off for some.
All in all, if you want a solid filter for a more affordable price than slightly better models, you should check out the Brita Basic Water Filter Faucet System.
#4 Crystal Quest Faucet Mount Water Filter System 8.2/10
The Crystal Quest Faucet Mount Water Filter System is a solid choice for those looking for a faucet water filter with a large purification capacity that won’t break the bank. It utilizes a six-stage water filtration system, and the company claims it is able to purify 2,000 gallons of water (no I didn’t type an additional zero accidentally), depending on your home’s water quality.
The Crystal Quest filter consists of micron filter pads, activated carbon, and ion exchange stages. The six-stage purification removes heavy metals, chlorine, VOCs, and various other contaminants from water.
While that all sounds quite impressive, Crystal Quest hasn’t made its performance data available, so it’s not included in the top three. We chose to still include it as an honorable mention because from a technical standpoint the stages of the filter consist of proven technologies and because of its massive purification capacity.
Should the company present some proven data, I may revisit this list and recommend the Crystal Quest Faucet Mount Water Filter system above other faucet water filters.
Check out the Crystal Quest faucet system.
#5 Culligan FM15A Faucet Filter 8.0/10
The Culligan FM15A Faucet Filter is a solid and dependable faucet water filter ideal for those looking for a powerful purification solution. It utilizes carbon block filtration and is able to remove and reduce common municipal water contaminants, including chlorine, lead, and VOCs.
The Culligan FM15A Faucet Filter is so far down the list due to its higher price point and the fact that its filter elements need to be replaced every two months, which further raises costs.
The filter is still easy to use, has adequate purification performance, and can be installed in either left- or right-hand configuration. These factors make the filter a worthy mention and fit for those who don’t mind replacing filters on a regular basis.
Check out the Culligan FM15A.
The Bottom Line: The Best Faucet Water Filter
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a faucet water filter to remove chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, PFAs, and other chemical contaminants from your city water, the Waterdrop FC-06 is the ideal solution.
Its activated-carbon filter media, durable stainless-steel design, and 360° swivel setup distinguish it from competing products, such as the PUR PLUS and Brita Basic. If you want the best faucet water available on today’s market, get the Waterdrop FC-06.
Research Methodology: How We Test and Review Products
To conduct our reviews and come to an objective conclusion about which products are best, we developed a rigorous seven-step product-testing methodology. It starts with creating a large list of all the available products and then systematically using both quantitative and qualitative data to narrow that list until we find the ones deserving our recommendation.
You can read more about our product-testing methodology, but here’s a summary of the different factors we consider while conducting a review:
The first step in our review is to vet products to make sure they’re designed to do what you need them to do. For this review, this meant getting rid of products that are under-the-counter units and require installation, but it also means making sure the products we’re examining align with the ultimate needs of you, the user.
Learn more about how we do our use analysis.
The next step is to dig into the water filtration technology featured in a product to make sure it’s legit and adequate for the task at hand. We dig into any new technologies and check them out in the literature to make sure they’re not snake oil, and we compare what different companies are doing to make sure the product in question is up to the task.
Learn more about the tech check portion of our review process.
Water test data
Data is an important part of all our reviews. We source data from public sources, our trusted partners, standards agencies, manufacturers, and, when needed, our own labs. We use this data to verify claims made by manufacturers and certify that the products we’re reviewing can deliver the results you expect.
Learn more about how we collect and use water test data.
We look for the units that easily integrate with your taps and scour the literature, talk to customers, and run tests ourselves to get an idea of what you can expect, and we factor all of that into our review process.
Learn more about how we run our installation tests.
As a homeowner, it’s important to balance up-front and long-term costs. We’re homeowners, too, so we want to make sure the products we recommend are practical and viable. We want to be sure what you’re buying is going to make sense for you, both now and in the future.
Learn more about how we conduct our cost-of-ownership analysis.
Faucet water filter systems range in price, but some are quite expensive. We often think this is worth the investment, but if we’re going to recommend you spend your hard-earned money, we want to be sure it’s with a company that stands by its products.
Before we list a product in our reviews, we do an exhaustive warranty check so we know exactly what’s covered and what’s not, as well as what else might be lurking in the fine print.
Learn more about how we do our warranty checks.
Customer service test
When making a purchase like a faucet water filter, it’s important to know the company you buy from is going to be with you in the long run.
As part of our review process, we run tests on a company’s customer service operation to see what it’s like and what you can expect. This includes actually reaching out to companies as well as comparing the resources they make available to their customers.
Learn more about our customer service test.
Before You Buy a Faucet Water Filter: Understanding Water Quality
Selecting the right faucet water filter requires more than just browsing products; it involves understanding the specific contaminants in your home’s water supply. Variations in water quality can significantly impact the effectiveness and necessity of different types of filters. Testing your water is a crucial step before purchasing any filtration system. It’s not just about the presence of contaminants, but also their levels.
Different filters target different substances, and without precise knowledge of what’s in your water, you may end up with a filter that is not effective.
The majority of faucet water filters use activated carbon or carbon blocks for water purification. As an example, while effective against chlorine, chloramine, and VOCs, they are not effective against hardness minerals or lead. And because they’re so small, it’s next to impossible for faucet filters to incorporate additional filter media for removing a wider range of contaminants.
This makes them ideal filtration solutions for city water users, though it’s still important to test your water if you’re unsure what’s in it. According to Jess Goddard, Chief Science Officer at SimpleLab, “Testing at least once every three years is suggested for utility water users. If you have known galvanized or lead piping on premise, or simply do not know your piping situation, we recommend testing more frequently. Similarly, if you learn of local contamination events, it is a good reason to test. Water quality is dynamic and changes with engineering practices, regulations, and water sources impacted by a changing climate.”
Another thing to note is that faucet water filters, by definition, only filter water at one faucet in your home. If you often drink out of other taps, or smell chlorine when you run your shower, you may want to consider a whole-house solution. Such systems filter water as it comes into your home and provide every tap with clean, clear, great-tasting water.
However, these units are more expensive and require more maintenance. If you’re interested in whole-home filtration, check out my review of the best whole-house water filters. Otherwise, head back up to the beginning of this review to learn which faucet water is the best available on today’s market.
Dive Deeper: In-Depth Water Filter Guides
At Drinking Water, we’re committed to helping you find the key to your household’s water treatment needs. For more help mapping out your specific water purification solutions, check out some of our other guides below:
- The Best Whole-House Water Filter Systems: Reviewed and Compared
- The Best Under-Sink Water Filters for Your Home: Reviewed and Compared
- The Best Gravity Water Filters: Reviewed and Compared 2023
- The Best Tankless Reverse Osmosis Systems
- The Best Whole-House Iron Filters for Well Water
- The Best UV Water Purifiers Reviewed and Ranked 2024
- The Best Whole-House Water Filter Cartridge
Frequently Asked Questions
Which brand of faucet water filter is best?
The best overall faucet water filter, based on our tests, is the Waterdrop FC-06 Faucet Water Filter System.
This system stands out due to its effective removal of common contaminants found in municipal water, its convenient swivel design, and its durable, stainless-steel build.
Which faucet water filter removes the most contaminants?
All faucet water filters that use activated carbon remove the same amount of contaminants. The top-rated Waterdrop FC-06 can remove up to 99% of chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, PFAS, and other chemical contaminants commonly found in municipal water using a durable stainless steel design and featuring a lifetime warranty.
Are faucet water filters worth it?
Yes, faucet water filters are worth it for many households. They provide an effective and affordable solution for improving the taste and quality of tap water by removing or reducing a wide range of contaminants. However, they require frequent filter replacements, which can add to the cost, and they can’t filter as many contaminants as larger, more expensive systems.
Is PUR or Brita better?
The PUR faucet water filter is slightly better than the Brita, which is why it scored higher in our ranking. They are both equally effective at removing chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, PFAS, and other chemical contaminants, but PUR comes with a sleek chrome design and a two-year warranty. Overall, the Waterdrop FC-06 is still better thanks to its stainless steel and 360° swivel design, but if you must choose between PUR or Brita, go with PUR.