Finding the right whole-house water filter is hard work.
The market is saturated with hundreds of systems, all proclaiming to be the best while providing suspiciously few details to back up their claims.
To make sure you and your family are drinking clean, clear, and delicious water all year round, I’ve spent nine weeks reviewing, comparing, and ranking the best whole-house filter options on the market. Here is what I found, in order of excellence:
1. Springwell CF+ — 9.45/10 (Best whole-house water system) $1,016.44
The Springwell CF+ Whole House System is the best whole-house water filtration system because it removes 99.6% of all contaminants, has a 1,000,000-gallon filter lifespan, 9 gallons per minute water pressure, a six-month money-back guarantee, and a lifetime warranty.
There are a lot of things to love about the Springwell CF+ Whole House System.
As with most whole-house filtration systems, it uses a three-stage filtration system to purify your water and ensure it meets the industry water-quality standard of NSF/ANSI 42.
Stage 1 is a 5-micron (1/20th width of a human hair) sediment filter that removes all sand, clay, and silt. This means you don’t get any nasty surprises in your water glass or in your shower, and it also extends the life of the other two filtration stages, saving you money (spent on buying new filters) and time (spent replacing them when they’re no longer effective).
Stage 2 uses high-purity copper-zinc granules (called KDF media) to remove nasty chemical contaminants, such as PFAS, PFOS, chlorine, iron, hydrogen sulfide, lead, mercury, calcium carbonate, magnesium, and chromium through a process known as redox. Redox is where the KDF media exchanges electrons (seriously!) with any contaminants, changing them from harmful compounds into harmless waste products that are easily trapped in the filter.
And Stage 3 is a catalytic-carbon filter that removes harmful organic compounds, such as pesticides, herbicides, and VOCs that can leach into your water supply from farms and homesteads.
Here are the independent results of the CF+ filter using mytapscore.com (Las Vegas municipal water residential test):
Before CF+ Installation
After CF+ Installation
If your water supply presents a few more challenges than the standard municipal water connection, Springwell offers additional filtration systems that plug straight into the CF+. These include a water softener to remove excess mineral content (hard water) and a UV filter to kill bacteria for those drawing their water from streams, tanks, or other untreated sources.
On top of getting rid of all the nasties from your water supply, the CF+ has a few other tricks up its sleeve.
First, it has a 1,000,000-gallon life-span for the catalytic-carbon and KDF filters, and the sediment filter will keep working for up to nine months. Most other whole-house water filters only have a 650,000-gallon life-span, so you’ll save money by not buying new sediment filters and time by not changing them out.
Second, the CF+ has the highest base water pressure of all the whole-house filters, as much as 50% higher than the competition. Its base model (one to three bathrooms) flows at 9 gallons per minute (GPM) and can run up to 17 GPM with the six-bathroom model. While other systems typically flow between 5 GPM and 8 GPM, and the extra flow rate might not make a huge difference if you live alone, you’ll be thankful for the extra pressure the first time someone flushes the toilet while you’re in the shower!
But the biggest reason why the Springwell CF+ is my #1 rated whole-house water filter are the protections.
Choosing a whole-house water filter is a big deal. It’s a significant cost both in terms of money and installation time and the last thing you want is to spend your hard-earned cash and precious time installing one only to have to deal with an endless stream (pun intended) of problems.
The Springwell CF+ is #1 on my list because it removes those worries.
Springwell is so confident not only that you’ll love its whole-house water filtration system but also that all its filters are the best-quality whole-house filters on the market that it offers an unconditional six-month money-back guarantee. This means you can install it, test it, shower and drink and water your garden with it, and if it’s not the best system you’ve ever seen, you can send it back and get a full refund any time within the first six months.
But on top of this, the Springwell CF+ is also the only whole-house water filter system that comes with a lifetime warranty on all tanks and valves. Some other companies offer extended warranties (from three years up to six years), but Springwell is the only company with enough confidence in its products to fully back them forever. This means that if you ever have any problems with your tanks or valves, you can reach out and get them fixed without ever worrying about the cost.
When you combine the money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty with the highest filtration rate, highest base water pressure, the 1,000,000 gallon catalytic carbon and KDF media filter lifespan, as well as free shipping and the lowest price of the top-tier systems, it’s an easy pick for the #1 spot.
The only noticeable drawback with the Springwell CF+ system is that you have to change both the KDF media and catalytic carbon filters at the same time. They’re both contained inside the same tank and you can’t change one while leaving the other in place.
Now, 99.95% of people will need to change both filters at the same time anyway because they’re designed to reach their effective limits at the same time (1,000,000 gallons), but for the 0.05% of people plan to spend their weekends tinkering with the finer details of their filtration system, you can’t do that with the CF+.
Springwell’s CF+ Whole House Water Filter System is the best whole-house water filter on the market because it provides you and your family with the cleanest and purest drinking water for the longest time on the market.
Its three-stage filtration system first removes all sediments through the 5-micron sediment filter, then uses high-purity copper-zinc granules to trap and convert nasty chemicals into inert compounds, and then finally, a catalytic-carbon filter removes all volatile organic compounds.
These filters last 53% longer than the nearest competition, saving you time and money, and the water flow rate is up to 50% higher than other whole house filters, meaning you never have to worry about waiting for the washing machine to finish before you shower.
While you can’t change the KDF media and catalytic-carbon filters individually, the six-month money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty on all tanks and valves means you can purchase this whole-house water filter with the confidence that you’ll never have to replace it.
If you want clean, clear, pure drinking water for your entire household without the worry that you’ll have to wait for water pressure or spend half your day dealing with filter issues, get the Springwell CF+ Whole-House Water Filter System here.
2. Aquasana Rhino 600,000 — 7.78/10 (Best for replacing filters) $1,498
The Aquasana Rhino 600,000 is #2 because of its unique dual-tank design makes it easy to replace filters and comes with a six-year warranty, but it’s more expensive, its filters are only certified up to 600,000 gallons, and it provides lower water pressure than the CF+.
It also uses a three-stage filtration system with a sediment, KDF media, and catalytic charcoal filter setup that is certified to NSF/ANSI 42 and reduces water contaminants by up to 97%. Aquasana also lines all its tanks with a bacteriostatic media that can reduce the growth of bacteria inside the tanks. If you live in an area with hard water or are off the grid and need UV filtering, Aquasana offers upgrades that can deal with both of those issues. The Rhino system is backed by a 90-day money-back guarantee and a 6-year warranty.
But the best part about the Aquasana Rhino is its dual-tank system.
Most whole-house water filtration systems contain their Stage-2 KDF media filter and their Stage-3 catalytic charcoal filters inside one tank. The water flows down through the KDF filter within an inner tube inside the tank, then is forced upwards through the catalytic-carbon filter before entering your water system.
Aquasana uses a two-tank system, with the Stage-2 KDF media filter inverted above the catalytic-carbon filter so that the water first flows upward into the KDF filter then flows downward into the catalytic-carbon filter, before entering your house’s water supply.
While this dual-tank design doesn’t provide superior water filtration (see the cons below), it does make it easier to change your KDF media filter at the end of its life-span.
First, while the 97% filtration rate will result in far cleaner water than you get without a filter, it falls well short of the 99.6% achieved by the Springwell CF+. A 2.6% difference might not sound like a lot on paper, but when you’re talking about dangerous chemicals such as PFAS, and elements such as lead, that 2.6% could be the difference between a healthy life and serious medical complications.
Second, the filters in the Rhino 600,000 are only rated to 600,000 gallons, which is 40% less than the CF+. This means that while the filters are easier to change, you’ll have to change them far more often with the Rhino.
Third, while the 90-day money-back guarantee and 6-year warranty are far better than a lot of warranties on this list, it once again falls well short of the 6-month money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty on the CF+.
And finally, the water flow rate is only 7 GPM. This means that while you won’t notice water pressure issues while you’re filling your sink, washing your clothes, or having a shower, the minute you try to do more than one of those at a time, you’re going to notice a drop off in pressure.
So while the Rhino 600,000 is a solid and reliable system and the dual-tank system makes it easy to change expired tanks, the limitations combined with the fact that it costs nearly $500 more than the CF+ put it squarely in second place.
Aquasana’s Rhino 600,000 is #2 on my list because it provides clean and pure drinking water and uses a dual-tank system to make the process of changing expired filters much easier than in most systems.
While it has a lower filtration rate, lower filter life-span, a shorter money-back guarantee and warranty, and a 28% lower pressure rating than the CF+, it’s still a good option if you’re concerned about changing the expired filters.
If you want to learn more about the Aquasana Rhino, you can get all the details here.
3. Pentair Pelican PC600-P — 7.93/10 (Only Stainless Steel Filtration Tanks) $1,130
Pentair’s Pelican PC600-P is #3 because while it delivers clean and pure water and uses stainless steel tanks, it has no catalytic-carbon filter (only activated charcoal), no money-back guarantee, and only a one-year warranty.
The Pelican PC600-P is a good-looking system. The stainless steel tanks that hold its stage-2 and stage-3 filters look like something you’d see in a hospital or other clinical setting.
The filter setup inside is the same as with the Springwell CF+, with the sediment filter housed inside a plastic casing, the KDF media filter in an inner tube inside the tank, and the organic compound filter surrounding the KDF filter.
You can also add whatever other attachments you need, such as a water softener, UV filter, and RO attachment.
And at $1,130 it’s only slightly more expensive than the Springwell CF+.
There are a few downsides, though.
The first is the water pressure. The Pelican PC600-P base model is only rated to 8 GPM. While it’s only 1 GPM less than the CF+, why pay more for less?
The second is the guarantees, or more specifically, the lack thereof. It comes with no money-back guarantee, and despite the fact it uses only stainless steel tanks, it only comes with a one-year warranty.
But the biggest difference is Pentair’s choice of material for the organic compound filter. Both the CF+ and the Rhino use catalytic-carbon filters to catch pesticides, herbicides, and VOCs. The PC600-P doesn’t. The PC600-P’s organic compound filter is a granulated activated carbon filter. While activated carbon has long been used to filter water, recent changes to town-water purification (the addition of ammonia to municipal water supplies, for example) means that it’s no longer good enough.
The reason it’s no longer good enough is a long, technical, and complicated explanation involving chlorine, trihalomethanes, ionic structures, molecular weights, and fish gills (which you can read here if you want to understand the science), but the short version is that activated carbon filter doesn’t catch all the harmful contaminants while catalytic carbon filter does.
Now, if activated charcoal was the best filtering material on the market then I would have no hesitation in recommending the Pelican, but when you can get the benefits of catalytic carbon from both the CF+ and the Rhino, with many more positives, there’s no reason to recommend the Pelican.
The Pentair Pelican PC600-P is a hospital-grade-looking system that helps eliminate a lot of the harmful chemical compounds from your municipal water supply. It utilizes the same three-stage system as most whole-house water filters onto which you can add both a water softener and a UV filter.
The stainless-steel tanks give the appearance of high-quality water output and while the water is cleaner and purer than just drinking town water, the use of an activated charcoal filter instead of a catalytic-carbon filter means that not all the dangerous chemicals are filtered out.
While it’s only slightly more expensive than the CF+ (and cheaper than the Rhino), the 1-year warranty and no money-back guarantee are well below the industry standard.
If you value the outward appearance of your whole-house water filter and would like to know more about Pentair Pelican PC600-P, you can learn more about it here.
4. US Water Systems BodyGuard Plus Whole House Water Treatment System — $3,150
The BodyGuard Plus Whole House Water Treatment System takes the number four spot because its carbon filter can last for up to five years before you need to replace them.
The system itself is very sleek, and its two-stage process means there aren’t too many pieces to be installed and it hides away very well. It did a bang-up job at knocking quite a bit of chlorine out of my water supply.
The fact that I had to pay $200 extra to make the Bodyguard Plus a two-stage system was a bit of a downer, if I’m being honest. I don’t think a primary sediment filter should have to be added on. Not including a pre-filter is one of the big reasons this water filter ended up in fourth place.
I also didn’t like that even though it would be five years until I had to purchase a replacement cartridge, the replacement itself would cost upwards of $900. Yikes.
With the cost of the US Water Systems BodyGuard Plus seeming to grow over time, I would go with the Springwell CF+ Filter System instead.
5. Crystal Quest SMART Whole House Filter — $1,673
Crystal Quest SMART Whole House Filter uses catalytic carbon and coconut shell granular activated carbon to supply crystal clear drinking water.
This system comes in three different sizes, and you can even use a smartphone app to track your water usage. The bells and whistles are terrific when you first get the system, but my interest in them diminished pretty quickly.
The sediment filter cartridge replacements are crazy expensive compared to the rest of the tested filter systems. You get surprisingly little out of the filter for the price tag.
With its higher price tag versus features and the expense of maintaining this system down the line, it’s pretty clear that my first pick, the Springwell CF+ System is the best bang for your buck.
6. SoftPro Whole House Catalytic Carbon Filter — $1,000
The Softpro Catalytic Carbon Filter has a lower cost while delivering a flow rate well worth its price.
This whole-house water filtration system did an admirable job of removing chlorine from the water supply while increasing storage capacity. A bonus is that it doesn’t require electricity to function correctly, which was a pleasant surprise.
A big downside against this water filter was that it actually raised my water hardness, resulting in a bad lathering experience in the shower and adding the cost to buy an additional softener.
With softer water and all-around better taste, the CF+ by Springwell delivers far better value for dollars spent.
7. NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System — $499
This filter’s unique pressure gauge eliminates the filter change guessing game. It gave me peace of mind knowing I wasn’t pulling filters too quickly or too late.
It’s an excellent filter for buyers looking to save a little money but access all the features that come with the heftier price tag.
The unfortunate part about the NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Filter system is that it’s super bulky, and I had a really tough time fitting the unit into the space it needed to go.
Another downside was that it didn’t come included with a bypass valve. That means that filter replacements and any needed maintenance would require me to completely shut off my water. Not cool.
The NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System features a wide board of options, but with the extra valve needed and the size and look, I would stick with the CF+.
8. Express Water Whole House Water Filter — $399
The Express Water Whole House Water Filter system does an admirable job of removing sulfur from the water supply.
This three-stage water filtration system’s gauges work well, and it sits nicely in its housing unit. Getting a view of the filters through the little window on the first stage housing unit is quite helpful for determining when it’s time to change your filters.
After a few weeks of using this filter, I could already see that it wouldn’t be long before I had to switch out the filter cartridges. I could see maintenance costs being an issue in the near future.
Compared to the complete system you get with the Springwell CF+, the Express Water offering feels like a cheaper imitation that can’t compete.
9. Home Master Whole House Filtration System — $356
This system has a great price point and a straightforward installation as well.
The Home Master HMF2SmgCC Whole House Filtration System is a solid choice for cleaning out sediment and total dissolved solids for those looking for a budget whole-house filter.
You get what you pay for in life, and even though this unit does a fair job cleaning your home’s water supply, its cheaper plastic feel has me wondering how long it will be before it cracks.
Based on what I felt and saw of the Home Master, it won’t be long before you’re ordering new parts on the phone with customer support—the CF+ is by far the better unit.
10. General Electric Household Pre-Filtration System — $59
In my final choice for the best whole-house water systems, the General Electric GXWH35F Household Pre-Filtration System is the best you can buy for under $100 bucks.
Great at removing chlorine and basic sediment at a price that can’t be beaten, this system is basic in every way but does an admirable job of removing sediment.
It’s a basic unit, so if you’re looking for the bells and whistles that come with my first choice, you will not find them here.
Although the GE system is a great starter unit, the CF+ by Springwell is by far a bigger and better unit.
The Bottom Line
After nine weeks of extensive testing, I’ve concluded that the Springwell CF+ Whole House Water Filter System is the best whole-house filter on the market today.
It uses a three-stage filter system that removes any larger particles using a 5-micron sediment filter, nasty chemicals (including lead, PFAS, and chloramine) with KDF media, and any volatile organic (including pesticides and herbicides) with a catalytic-carbon filter, removing up to 99.6% of all contaminants.
The industry-leading 9 GPM water pressure provides constant pressure in up to three bathrooms (with upgrade models providing up to 17 GPM), the 6-month money-back guarantee is double the length of the second longest money-back guarantee, and it’s the only whole house water filter to come with a lifetime warranty.
While changing the filters might not be as simple as other systems, you won’t have to do it until one million gallons of water have passed through your filter (which is 60%+ longer than most systems).
If you want a whole-house water filter system that provides safe, clean, and pure drinking water that provides industry-leading pressure and comes with the longest and most extensive guarantees and warranties, get the Springwell CF+ Whole House Water Filter System today.
To help you find the best whole-house water system for your home, I spent five months ordering, installing, and testing over 25 different designs. Here’s a peek at how I did it.
Step 1: A big list of every product and service available
To begin my adventure, I spent three days scouring the internet and coupon savers to learn what filter options were available.
After I compiled a list of 25 different filter systems, I had a turkey sandwich and congratulated myself for completing step one of the process.
Step 2: Online reviews
After I finished my step one sandwich, I started researching the websites and reviews for the 25 house water filter systems I had selected.
It turns out whole-house water filters are no joke. There is a massive market for them, and many house water filters appear to talk a good game but are, in actuality, pretty disappointing.
After spending a day working on breaking down the reviews of different filtration systems and discovering the many reviews available for each water filter, I managed to knock 10 water filters off the list.
Step 3: Product/service analysis
When I began breaking down the features and benefits of the 15 water filters left, I had many questions about which house water filtration system was the best. I began by asking myself the important ones:
- Was it possible to find a whole-house filtration system that was effective and wouldn’t reduce my water flow?
- How many stages do whole-house water filters have?
- Which filtration system could be counted on to handle the capacity of water I needed for my home?
- Do whole-house water filters produce drinkable water?
- Do I need multiple whole-house water filters, or would just one work?
- Which of these filtration systems has the cheapest replacement filters?
- Would I have to install a water softener as well?
Step 4: Interviews with real customers
From there, I figured nothing helps test a product better than reaching out to those who have used them for a while.
I contacted two real-life customers of each water filter and asked them some questions regarding how they felt about their whole-house water filters after experiencing the filtration systems firsthand.
I found out that some hated them, some loved them, and some hung up on me straightaway.
Step 5: Interviews with Springwell, Softpro, and Pentair
After contacting real customers to find out about their whole-house water filters, I reached out to the filtration system creators to see what they had to say about their filtration process and the water filters they were offering the public.
All three companies I got a hold of were quick to call me back and set up a time to talk. They were knowledgeable and accommodating.
Step 6: Test drives
I ordered and installed the 10 water filtration systems I had whittled the list down to and began to get to work.
I installed each system at our city water testing facility and ensured that the same municipal water supply was used for each water filter, and began sampling the water over the five months.
Testing included showering, drinking, and cooking with each sample of water.
Step 7: Ratings
You’re probably asking yourself how I arrived at my ratings for each of these sediment filters. I focused on these questions to develop a rating system based on what is most important for those looking for purified water:
- Which water filtration system had the best capacity and water flow?
- Which water filtration system delivered the best-tasting water?
- Who had the most effective filtration media?
- Which water filter was the easiest to install?
Best Whole-House Water Filter for Purifying Your Water
After nine weeks of reviewing, ordering, installing, and testing, I discovered a lot about whole-house filter systems, carbon filters, industrial solvents, and volatile organic compounds. I also learned that most whole-house filters are crucial for cleaning municipal water supplies.
The Springwell CF+ Whole House Filter System removes 99.6% of contaminants and has a 1,000,000-gallon life-span, industry-leading water pressure, a 6-month money-back guarantee, and a lifetime warranty.
While changing the filters might not be as simple as other systems, you won’t have to do it until one million gallons of water have passed through your filter. If you want a whole-house water filter that will keep your drinking water tasting great, retain your current water pressure, and deliver low-cost and low-effort maintenance, get the Springwell CF+ Whole House Filter System today.