The 6 Best Whole-House Water Filters for Lead Removal in 2024

Reviewed by: James Layton
Updated on:
March 11, 2024

To identify the top whole-house filters for lead removal, I put 30 different options through our seven-step methodology and utilized critical input from our in-house water specialist, James Layton

Our #1 recommendation is the SpringWell LCR-1, which excels at removing lead and comes with an industry-leading warranty. If you need to filter arsenic, fluoride, or microbes along with lead, you can opt for the US Water Systems Defender. For lead and hardness minerals, you may prefer Crystal Quest’s Lead Removal System. If you’re purchasing a lead-removing system for the first time, read our buyer’s guide. Here are our recommendations.

Best Overall: SpringWell Lead & Cyst Removal System 9.80/10

  • Removes 99.6% of both soluble and insoluble forms of lead.
  • Also removes PFOA/PFOS, chlorine, and cysts.
  • Dynamic LED system indicates filter life.
  • Filter media lasts up to one year with minimal maintenance.
  • You can add additional filters for a customized water treatment solution.
  • Handy homeowners can easily DIY the installation.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty and 6-month guarantee.
  • No sediment pre-filter
  • Not an option for iron, arsenic, fluoride, or microbes
  • Expensive replacement filter

SpringWell Lead & Cyst Removal System is the best lead removal filter because it is extremely effective at removing lead and it comes with an industry-leading lifetime warranty.


The SpringWell LCR-1 is our #1 recommendation for five definitive reasons:

Pro 1/5: Effective filtration

The number-one best thing about the SpringWell Lead & Cyst Removal System is that it does what it’s meant to do — remove more than 99.95% of lead from polluted drinking water. There are plenty of filtration media that can remove some lead, but you definitely don’t want that. You need a filter that removes it all.

The system employs a two-in-one filtration technology capable of eliminating both soluble and insoluble forms of lead. The technology utilizes non-metallic binders that attract oppositely charged lead ions in the water supply to remove soluble lead. Then, a .5-micron filter removes particulate lead. In addition to removing lead, the SpringWell LCR-1 system also effectively addresses commonly occurring pollutants such as chlorine, chloramines, PFOA/PFOS (so-called forever chemicals), and pathogenic cysts (if they’ve made it through your city water’s disinfection, which, thankfully, is unlikely). In fact, this filter is so good, it can remove 99.9% of chlorine, 97% of PFOA/PFOS, 99.95% of cysts, and other substances you don’t want in your water.

All of this means that if your city water contains a combination of contaminants like lead, chlorine, chlorine by-products, and forever chemicals, the SpringWell LCR-1 is an excellent option.

Pro 2/5: LED filter life indicator 

The second big plus of this filtration system is its filter life indicator. This handy feature lets you know when it’s time to change the filter media, which is especially important if you’re dealing with lead. Remember, even small amounts of lead in water can be dangerous. So, changing the filter on time is really important to avoid accidentally consuming lead when the filter is near its expected expiration.

SpringWell makes sure you stay on top of filter changes with its dynamic LED display. It uses color-coded notifications to show the filter’s life. This makes managing the system a breeze for any homeowner. You can even change the filter life indicator’s settings according to your own preferences and water quality

A filter life indicator makes protecting yourself and your family from lead poisoning an easy process, especially since you can adapt it to your own needs and preferences. If you don’t want to guess the filter life and play chicken with lead contamination, get the SpringWell Lead & Cyst Filter System today.

Pro 3/5: Long filter life and easy installation

The third advantage of this SpringWell lead-removing whole-house filter is that it requires little to no maintenance, saving you maintenance costs and effort. It lasts longer than many other whole-house filters, which may need replacing as frequently as every three months. 

The filter has an expected lifespan of 100,000 gallons of water, easily lasting a year for most families. You’ll only need to change the filter every 12 months, and the process is straightforward, taking under 10 minutes. You don’t need any tools to replace the filter cartridges, a feature I really appreciate about SpringWell. Throughout the 12 months after its installation, the filter requires no attention. Speaking of installation, the LCR-1 comes with detailed installation instructions with your owner’s manual. If you’re confident in your DIY abilities, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, on installation costs.

If you want to save yourself the hassle of maintaining and looking after your filter every few weeks, you should get yourself the SpringWell LCR-1.

Pro 4/5: Fully customizable 

The fourth advantage of LCR-1 is the way you can customize the system to deal with other water quality issues, like microbes, arsenic, fluoride, or sediment. This eliminates the legwork that goes into finding other compatible brands and matching filters to suit your SpringWell system.

If you’re dealing with microbes in your water, you can outfit your LCR-1 with SpringWell’s UV sterilizer that zaps 99.9% of all the germs in the water supply. If you’ve tested your water and it turns out you also have fluoride, arsenic, and heavy metals in your drinking water, you can pair the LCR-1 with SpringWell’s under-sink reverse osmosis system. You can also include a sediment filter if you have dirt and silt in your water. Plus, a sediment filter will prevent your LCR-1 from clogging. 

The SpringWell Lead & Cyst Filter system’s adaptability and compatibility with various SpringWell systems make it a versatile and efficient solution for addressing a wide range of water quality challenges.

Pro 5/5: Extensive warranty and money-back guarantee 

Last but not least, SpringWell offers a lifetime warranty and a six-month money-back guarantee. At the time of writing, the LCR-1 costs about $1,500, and replacement filters are priced at around $500. If you decide not to install it yourself, installation can range from $500 to $1,000 depending on your area. When you invest so much time, effort, and money in selecting a whole-house water filter for your home, it’s only fair to expect it to have an excellent warranty.

I’m all about endorsing water filter brands that come with solid warranties. It’s one of the first things we look at after filtration ability. SpringWell’s warranty impresses. Most companies offer just a one-year limited warranty, which means if it breaks down after a year, no one will come to your rescue, and you’ll eventually have to buy another system. But SpringWell respects its customers and has enough confidence in its products to offer a limited lifetime warranty and a six-month money-back guarantee. It stands by the LCR-1’s tanks, valves, fittings, housings, and bypass valves. Just keep in mind that if you do decide to DIY the installation and you damage it, the warranty is void.

What this warranty means is that SpringWell has faith in its products and so should you. A good warranty speaks volumes about a company, and this one says SpringWell is a trustworthy brand. If you’re looking for a long-term solution with lifelong protection, SpringWell LCR-1 is your best option.


There are three downsides to this system that you need to consider:

Con 1/3: Not a one-size-fits-all filtration solution

First, the SpringWell LCR-1 is specifically designed to remove lead, cysts, chlorine, and other potentially harmful contaminants, but it won’t remove iron, arsenic, fluoride, other microbes, or hard minerals. You need additional filters specific to these pollutants. Or you can check out my reviews on the US Water Systems Defender and Crystal Quest systems, both of which address some of these issues along with lead. 

In the case of hard water, another great option is to pair up your LCR-1 with SpringWell’s top-rated water softener. Doing this will save you a lot of trouble matching another brand’s water softener with your SpringWell lead removal system. Plus, you will get the same lifetime warranty on your water softener as well. For more details, you can check out my review of SpringWell’s LCRSS-1 (the combination of SpringWell’s lead removal system and salt-based water softener). 

Similarly, I recommend pairing LCR-1 with SpringWell’s UV purifier to deal with microbial contamination. 

If you want to explore your options when it comes to UV filtration, read my review of the best UV purifiers.

Con 2/3: Doesn’t come with a sediment pre-filter

The second limitation is that the system doesn’t come with a sediment filter. You may need to invest in one separately if your water has high sediment levels or the particles may interfere with the proper functioning of your LCR-1. However, if you’re on city water, you’re unlikely to have a problem with sediment.

For private well owners who want to protect their LCR-1, I recommend the SpringWell PF-10. To explore more options, read my detailed reviews of the best sediment filters on the market.

Con 3/3: Expensive replacement filter

The last downside of this system is that its replacement filter is considerably expensive, costing around $500. Although the initial cost may seem steep, the investment is justified when you consider that the filter lasts an entire 12 months, providing a prolonged period of lead-free water.

Plus, you can save money by taking advantage of discounts during sales or by signing up for their yearly filter replacement delivery service. 

When it comes to filtering lead from your water, I don’t advise you to go with the most budget-friendly option. I’m not necessarily saying only the most expensive systems will sort out your lead problem, but choose the system that will do the best job first and foremost.

OVERALL: 9.8/10

The SpringWell lead and cyst removal system is the best whole-house filter for lead removal because it does what it promises. It uses powerful technology to remove both soluble and insoluble lead and other common pollutants, like chlorine. It requires minimum maintenance and lasts up to one year. 

While the replacement filters will cost you a pretty penny, lead isn’t the area to cut costs, and it comes with lifetime protection and a six-month money-back guarantee to protect your investment anyway. 

If you want to keep yourself and your family safe from lead for the rest of your life, get the SpringWell LCR-1 right now.

#2 US Water Systems Defender 9.20/10

  • Effectively removes lead, arsenic, fluoride, microbes, and more.
  • High-efficiency RO system.
  • Customize it for your specific needs.
  • Suits large or multi-family homes or commercial uses.
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • No pre-filtration
  • Disappointing warranty
  • No money-back guarantee
  • Not DIY-friendly

The US Water Systems Defender reverse osmosis system is one of the best filters for removing lead because it uses reverse osmosis to thoroughly remove a plethora of common pollutants — including lead. 


There are four main reasons why US Water Systems Defender is a top choice among lead removal systems:

Pro 1/4: Effectively filters lead

The US Water Systems Defender comes with many bells and whistles, but its main pro is that it does what it’s tasked with. 

Reverse osmosis is one of the most effective methods for removing lead and other challenging pollutants, such as nitrates, arsenic, and fluoride. Because of its 0.0001-micron membrane, the filter doesn’t allow any pollutants to pass through. In other words, water passing through reverse osmosis is as close to pure water as you can get. This system also comes with a sediment pre-filter that captures silt and dirt particles larger than 5 microns. Plus, it has a UV sterilizer as the last step, which effectively zaps disease-causing microbes in your water supply. 

All of this makes the US Water Systems Defender a one-stop shop for removing lead, arsenic, fluoride, dirt, silt, microbes, and all other commonly occurring pollutants in city water. 

Pro 2/4: High-efficiency RO system

The second significant feature of Defender’s reverse osmosis system is its high efficiency compared to typical RO filters on the market. 

Average RO filters waste up to six gallons of water to produce just one gallon of clean water. However, US Water Systems Defender can increase the efficiency up to 75%, meaning it produces four gallons of fresh water for every one gallon wasted. It does so by recycling the unused water. This is one of the best clean-to-waste ratios I’ve seen among modern reverse osmosis systems.

The US Water Systems’ Defender is for you if you’re looking for a whole-house reverse osmosis system that will remove lead without wasting water.

Pro 3/4: Large enough for multi-family homes and light commercial uses

The third advantage of this US Water Systems whole-house system is it suits multi-family homes or commercial uses with high water demand.

It uses a 140-gallon tank to store fresh and clean water for daily usage. If you have an even higher water demand, additional tanks can be added to the system. Its 2,000-gallons-per-day production capacity is more than enough for a medium to large household. However, if you want higher water capacity for multi-unit home or commercial use, you can upgrade to 4,000, 6,000, or even 8,000 gallons per day.

If you’re looking for a big system for high water demand, the US Water Systems’ Defender is a great choice.

Pro 4/4: Customizable system 

The fourth notable benefit of the US Water Systems’ Defender is its high level of customization. You have the flexibility to tailor it based on your specific needs, whether it’s determining the number of storage tanks, the gallons of fresh water required daily, or selecting pretreatment options that address your water quality concerns.

Pretreatment is crucial for the longevity of your reverse osmosis system, and US Water Systems recommends options like the Bodyguard Plus — a top-rated carbon filter that enhances taste, eliminates odors, and safeguards the RO membrane from chemicals, and an anti-scalant injection filter, which helps prevent scaling and controls water hardness. Note that this anti-scalant injection filter only tackles water hardness to some extent. If you have high water hardness, your best bet is to get a water softener installed.

Here’s a list of the best water softeners.

You also have the option to include a re-mineralization filter or a pH neutralizer after the reverse osmosis filter to add back minerals to your purified water. 

So, if you’re looking for a highly customizable unit to create super-comprehensive water treatment, the US Water Systems’ Defender is for you. 


While it is a high-performing whole-house lead removal system, it has four notable downsides:

Con 1/4: Takes up a lot of space

The first downside of this system is its big size. The Defender features an impressive 140-gallon tank to store clean water for your household needs. This storage tank, standing 29 inches tall and measuring 58 inches wide, provides ample purified water. However, it needs some serious room. 

If you prioritize a smaller footprint or have limited space for your filtration system, the Defender’s size may pose a challenge. Just keeping it real with you.

The SpringWell LCR-1, on the other hand, features only one tank, standing 40 inches tall and 8 inches wide. Compared to Defender, it is much more compact and can fit in tight spaces 

Con 2/4: No pre-filtration options for well water 

The second drawback of this system is its lack of pre-filtration options for pollutants like iron, sulfur, or manganese. Proper pretreatment is crucial for your RO whole-house unit to prevent damage to the filter membranes.

US Water Systems provides only two pretreatment options for pairing with your Defender: the BodyGuard chemical filter, removing chlorine and chloramine, and an anti-scalant injection system controlling water hardness. However, the company doesn’t offer solutions for pretreating iron, sulfur, and manganese. While RO can eliminate some of these elements, it may result in rapid clogging and premature damage. 

Additional filters are necessary to address these pollutants before water enters the whole-house RO filter, inevitably increasing the initial cost of your water system.

Here’s a list of the best whole-house filters for iron removal.

Con 3/4: Not the best warranty you’d expect at this price

Third, with a price tag of about $8,000, you’d expect this filter to offer a lifetime warranty on all its components. However, to my disappointment, it only provides a lifetime warranty on its tank and just a two-year warranty on the rest of the system components, which does not include pre-filters, UV bulb sleeves, membranes, and tubes in the chemical pump. 

This means you’d need to keep spare cash ready if any of the parts of the system malfunction or stop working entirely after just two years of installation. Plus, they don’t offer any money-back guarantee. When you buy it, you’re stuck with it. 

The US Water Systems warranty pales in comparison with that of the SpringWell LCR-1.

Con 4/4: Not DIY friendly 

The last downside of the Defender is that it’s not DIY friendly. If you’re in search of a system that’s a breeze to DIY in terms of installation and maintenance, this might not be the one for you. The installation process is intricate, and you’d have to bring in an expert. Attempting to install it yourself could even void the warranty if you don’t follow the instructions strictly. 

Although this system typically operates smoothly for extended periods without maintenance, should you require any check-ups or maintenance, it’s better to opt for a professional plumber rather than attempting any DIY repairs.

OVERALL: 9.20/10

The US Water Systems Defender is an excellent choice for multi-family units and households with high water demand that need to eliminate lead from all taps in the house. It gets rid of lead and filters out any pollutants larger than 0.0001 microns, as long as you install the right pretreatment filter.

If you’re ready for such a huge investment, you can get the Defender here.

#3 Crystal Quest Whole House Lead Removal System 8.70/10

  • Equipped with multiple stages of filtration.
  • Comes with a sediment pre-filter and carbon post-filter.
  • Four different size variations suit small to large households.
  • Lasts up to 750,000 gallons.
  • You can choose between a stainless steel or fiberglass tank.
  • Short warranty
  • No filter life indicator
  • Not DIY friendly

Crystal Quest is another excellent option if you want to treat more than just lead in your city water supply. The filter can also remove chlorine, VOCs, pesticides, herbicides, and hard minerals using multiple stages of filtration.


The Crystal Quest Lead Removal System ranks among the top three best whole-house filters for lead removal thanks to the following five reasons:

Pro 1/5: Effectively filters lead and more

The first reason why Crystal Quest’s Lead Removal System has secured the third spot is that it uses multiple stages featuring different technologies to remove a variety of pollutants in water. It can tackle more than lead in the water, including mercury, chlorine, chloramines, PFOA/PFOS, sediment, industrial solvents, pesticides, and hard minerals

This Crystal Quest system uses resin beads covered with sodium ions to attract soluble lead along with calcium and magnesium minerals. This media needs to be flushed and regenerated with fresh brine solution, but the system does it automatically, so you don’t have to worry about it. The regenerated resin beads can be used again and again. It also features proprietary SMART multimedia containing two types of granular activated-carbon filter, Eagle Redox Alloys 6500 & 9500 (use oxidation/reduction processes to capture pollutants), and ion exchange resin. The combination effectively produces fresh and clean water throughout the taps around the house.

This means that if you’re looking for a system that can remove lead and soften water without breaking a sweat, you should get the Crystal Quest Lead Removal System

Pro 2/5: Available in four different size variations to suit small to large households

The second-best thing about Crystal Quest is it offers different filter sizes to suit varying water demands. 

Unlike the US Water Systems Defender, which is more for big homes, Crystal Quest has two versions: one does 750,000 gallons, and the other a whopping 1,000,000 gallons. The smaller one is great for up to three bathrooms, and the big guy is perfect if you’ve got more than three bathrooms. 

This means that the Crystal Quest Lead Removal System is likely a good fit for any kind of home.

Pro 3/5: Minimal maintenance 

The third advantage of the Crystal Quest lead system is its low-maintenance nature once it’s installed — it’s almost a set-it-and-forget-it deal. 

Equipped with automatic backwashing and regeneration technology, you can easily customize the settings to match your water usage preferences. This means you can kick back and let the system do its job hassle-free. Aside from the routine replacement of the pre- and post-filters every 6–12 months, the main filter itself doesn’t need replacing for a solid 7 to 10 years. That’s a pretty impressive lifespan without requiring much attention.

This means if you’re seeking a hassle-free, low-maintenance water filtration system that lets you enjoy clean water without constantly worrying about upkeep, the Crystal Quest is the ideal choice for you

Pro 4/5: Comes with pre-filter and post-filter 

The fourth thing to like about the Crystal Quest lead removal system is that you won’t need to buy additional systems for pre- and post-filtration. 

This system comes with a 20” sediment pre-filter to kick out any extra gunk in your water. And it’s got a 20” carbon post-filter too, getting rid of any lingering smells and making sure your water is super fresh. These filters are part of the package, so you won’t need to shell out extra cash. 

Unlike most whole-house water filters that make you pay more for these essential add-ons, Crystal Quest’s got you covered.

Pro 5/5: Two options for tank material 

The final cool thing about Crystal Quest is that you can choose between a stainless-steel tank and a fiberglass tank based on your region’s humidity and temperature.

Stainless steel tanks look nice, but in humid or seaside areas, they can rust if not cleaned regularly due to salt accumulation. If you find yourself in such weather conditions, the better option would be to go for the fiberglass variation. Fiberglass is super resistant to corrosion and also provides ample strength. So, depending on your weather conditions and, of course, personal preference, you have the flexibility to go with either a stainless steel or fiberglass tank. It’s all about what suits your environment and style.

If you’re picky about the material your filter tank is made of, the Crystal Quest lead removal system gives you options.


Although it’s a great lead removal system, you still need to consider its three downsides:

Con 1/3: One-year warranty 

The first con is its super short warranty. Having only a one-year warranty, especially when SpringWell offers a lifetime warranty, is a bit of a downer. 

The one-year warranty for Crystal Quest makes you wonder how confident the company is in the durability of its product. These filters are meant for the long haul, providing clean water for your family for years. If anything goes wrong within that first year, a good warranty ensures that the fixes or replacements won’t cost you extra. 

However, with Crystal Quest, you might need to be cautious once that one year is over. If there’s a hiccup, you’ll have to resort to those expensive water bottles while you get your filter fixed or replaced.

Con 2/3: No way of telling the filter life

The second con of Crystal Quest’s lead removal filter is it doesn’t have a way to tell you when it’s time to change the filter. This means there’s a chance you might keep using the filter even when it’s getting old, and that’s not good. As the filter nears its expiration, it might not be as good at removing lead, and you could accidentally end up drinking water with lead in it.

Basically, without a reminder, you might forget to change the filter at the right time, especially if 10 years have gone by. Changing the filter when it’s time is super important to make sure it keeps working well and keeps your water safe. 

Con 3/3: Cannot be DIY-ed 

The final drawback of this system is that setting it up requires the expertise of a licensed plumber or a state-registered contractor to ensure correct installation. Installing it yourself might seem like a tempting DIY project, but it could potentially void your warranty.

So, keep aside an estimated $500 to $1000 for the installation process. For a system with an easy DIY, look into the SpringWell.

OVERALL: 8.70/10

The Crystal Quest whole-house lead removal filter doesn’t just eliminate lead, it also tackles hard minerals and various inorganic and organic pollutants. Its multi-stage filtration system makes it ideal for addressing more than one type of contaminant in your water. It’s among my top choices due to its high efficiency, long lifespan, and reasonable pricing. 

The one-year warranty is a downer, but if this meets your needs, you can get one for yourself here.

#4 Aquasana OptimH2O: 8.15/10

Aquasana OptimH2O is another whole-house system designed for individuals dealing with a combination of lead and chlorine in their city water and looking for a system with decent filtration capacity for a medium household. 

It employs a 0.5-micron-rated water filter and an ultra-dense carbon block (which is basically a combination of catalytic and activated carbon) to eliminate lead, PFOA/PFOS, chlorine, and chloramines. It is equipped with an LED display unit that indicates the water filter’s life and alerts the user when it’s time for a replacement. It’s also customizable. You can enhance this unit with Aquasana’s salt-free conditioner and a UV sterilizer tailored to your water test reports and quality requirements. 

I like that Aquasana provides a five-year warranty and 90-day money-back guarantee. Though not as extensive as SpringWell’s lifetime warranty, it still surpasses many other brands.

One downside of this system is that it’s not designed to treat contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, and iron. Aquasana doesn’t offer any add-on options to remove such contaminants, either. Another drawback is that its up-front cost is higher than SpringWell’s. Additionally, the replacement filters would cost you around $500, which is quite expensive.

Aquasana OptimH2O didn’t make it to the top three, but it’s a compelling option because of its ability to remove lead effectively.

#5 Express Water Whole House Filter 8.0/10

The Express Water whole-house filter is for those looking to remove lead and other heavy metals throughout the house at an affordable price. Despite its budget-friendly nature, this filter efficiently eliminates heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, from city water.

It operates through a three-stage system, featuring a 5-micron sediment filter, a KDF filter that removes lead, mercury, copper, nickel, and chromium, and a carbon block filter that enhances the taste and odor of water by eliminating chlorine. All this sounds good, but I would have put this option as one of my top three choices if Express Water displayed the performance sheet or any kind of results on the website. 

Moreover, while the filter is effective in removing heavy metals, it doesn’t tell the filter life. You can, however, make use of the pressure gauges to monitor the pressure changes between incoming and filtered water. This will indicate whether the filters are clogged and need replacement. But this method may not be very convenient for some users.

Another downside of this system is, unlike SpringWell, US Water Systems, or Crystal Quest, it requires replacement every six months. And lastly, you only get a one-year warranty, which is a bit too underwhelming for a whole-house filter. 

All in all, Express Water’s Heavy Metal Whole House System is still a decent option for removing lead throughout your house if you’re looking for a budget-friendly system. The filter passes water through three stages and gets rid of more than just lead, including dirt, other heavy metals, and chlorine.

#6 iSpring Whole House Filter 7.8/10

iSpring is another alternative for people unwilling to spend $1,000 on a lead filter. The iSpring whole-house filter is reasonably priced and comes with three filtration stages designed to eliminate common pollutants found in city water, including lead.

The sediment filter removes dirt, debris, and particles larger than 5 microns. Following that, a dedicated carbon filter tackles chlorine odor, taste, and cloudiness. The final filter targets the removal of 99% of lead. Each filter has an expected lifespan of up to a year, but this may vary based on your water quality.

While the unit is effective, without a clear indication of the filter life in this system, you’ll need to be vigilant about replacement timings, relying on setting alarms and observing changes in flow rates. It also only has a one-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee, but that’s reasonable given the unit’s price.

If the iSpring whole-house filter matches your requirements, you can check it out here

The Bottom Line: Best Lead Filter for Your Home

For over five months, we tested and analyzed 30 whole-house water filtration systems that claim to remove lead in water. Only six of them lived up to our expectations. But one among them actually exceeded our expectations: the SpringWell LCR-1 whole-house filter. 

It’s perfect if your water has a combination of lead, chlorine, PFOAs, and cysts. The filter will remove about 99.95% of lead in soluble and insoluble forms. Its electronic head measures the life of the filter through the change in water conditions and the flow rate. You’ll be notified when the filter is due for a change. If you want to get rid of lead for good at an affordable price with minimal maintenance, get the SpringWell lead and cysts removal system right now.

For a system that removes arsenic as well as lead, try the US Water Systems Defender, and if you want a lead-removal system with lots of options, check out Crystal Quest.

Have you experienced a lead problem in your water? How did you treat it? We’d love to hear about it. Leave us a comment in the section below!

Research Methodology: How We Test and Review Products

In our pursuit of unbiased, fact-based conclusions regarding products worthy of your investment, we employ Drinking Water’s seven-step methodology. This rigorous research process allows us to quantitatively and qualitatively compare products, weighing their merits and drawbacks. For detailed insights into our research approach, explore our water filter product testing methodology. Here’s a brief explanation of how we do it:

Use analysis

As an initial step in our research process, we analyze various products to determine their specific uses. Our aim is to identify and categorize these products based on their functionalities, ensuring that you find the most suitable solution for your needs. By conducting thorough use analyses, we prioritize matching products to their intended purposes, ensuring that your investment meets your precise requirements.

Learn more about how we do our use analysis.

Tech check

The next step in our research process involves a thorough examination of the filter technology utilized in each product. We analyze various filtration methods, ensuring they align with the manufacturer’s claims and effectively target contaminants. We meticulously assess each technology’s capabilities, lifespan, and efficiency to recommend reliable and effective solutions tailored to your water quality needs.

Learn more about the tech check portion of our review process.

Water test report 

Our third step is all about checking the facts. We start by confirming what companies claim their filters can do. Then, we dive deeper. We look at certifications and ask companies for test results. We even check data from independent labs and sometimes run our own tests. This way, we make sure our reviews tell you everything you need to know about how well a filter works.

Learn more about how we collect and use water test data.

Installation test

Installing a water filter properly is crucial. We examine if all necessary materials come with it and assess if it’s DIY-friendly or requires professional help. We also check warranty requirements and favor filters with clear manuals or online resources. Our review process ensures a comprehensive understanding of the installation, making sure you know what to expect before you buy.

Learn more about how we run our installation tests.

Cost of ownership analysis 

We perform a cost-of-ownership analysis for water filters, considering financing, installation expenses, filter lifespan, replacement availability, and water/electricity usage to provide a comprehensive financial view for selecting a system.

Learn more about how we conduct our cost-of-ownership analysis.


In our water filter assessments, we thoroughly analyze company warranties for reliability and long-term value. We scrutinize the duration, coverage, fine print, and ease of use, ensuring you invest in a dependable product. Additionally, we prioritize brands with flexible refund policies, aiming to recommend filters that offer confidence and reliability.

Learn more about how we do our warranty checks.

Customer service test 

We don’t just check water filters; we examine how companies treat customers. We look at reviews, online help, and real-person support tests to ensure you’re taken care of. Clear manuals and fair return policies matter too. It’s all part of how we create trustworthy reviews.

Learn more about our customer service test.

Before You Buy a Lead Filter for Your Home

Lead is among the trickiest and most dangerous pollutants found in drinking water, capable of causing irreparable damage if consumed long term. The most common sources of lead in drinking water include corroding pipelines, old plumbing systems, faucets, and fixtures. Sometimes, water that’s too acidic or doesn’t have many minerals can trigger these pipelines to corrode, releasing metal ions into your water. Usually, homes built before 1986 are more likely to have this issue.

What’s scary is that lead doesn’t have a taste or smell, so you can’t tell if it’s there just by looking or sniffing around. Testing your water is key if you suspect any lead trouble.

According to Jess Goddard, one of our trusted partners, “Testing at least once every 3 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.”

Even the teensiest bit of lead is a big no-no, which is why the EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goal for lead at zero. Lead can seriously damage the brain and nervous system, especially in young kids and pregnant women.

Here’s a map showing which regions have the highest risk of lead exposure.

How should you deal with lead in your water supply 

The first step is identifying whether lead is present in your water supply. Water testing usually costs no more than $100 and provides a detailed report listing all the potential contaminants in your drinking water.

Have your water tested here.

Once you’ve confirmed the presence of lead, the next step is to select a lead removal system, either at the point of entry (POE) or point of use (POU). The choice between a POU or POE system depends on whether you want to treat lead from all your taps or just focus on the kitchen tap. It also depends on your budget, as a POE system will cost you double or more than POU systems.

Reverse osmosis 

Reverse osmosis is a highly effective method for eliminating lead from drinking water. It can remove up to 99% of lead, along with other pollutants, ensuring the freshest water possible. Usually, RO systems are found as point-of-use systems like under-sink filters or countertop units. However, there are whole-house RO systems available, though these come with a significantly higher cost compared to POU units.

Here’s a list of the best whole-house reverse osmosis systems.

Oxidation-reduction process

Some lead removal filters use oxidation reduction to chemically strip lead ions from water. These filters feature charged media that attract lead and other heavy metal ions, transforming them into insoluble compounds that are then mechanically removed. With the use of redox media, up to 98% of lead in water can be removed. 

Activated carbon

Some special activated carbon filters with a 0.5-micron rating can remove lead and other heavy metals from water via adsorption process but not every carbon filter will remove lead, so it’s extremely important you research carbon filters carefully if your goal is lead removal. Carbon filtration is generally not as effective as reverse osmosis or redox reactions, so don’t assume your carbon filter will remove lead unless it is certified and has water test reports backing its performance. 

Check out the products we recommend for dealing with lead in your water supply:

Back to product recommendations

Dive Deeper: In-Depth Water Filter Guides

If you want to learn more about water filters in general, here are some resources for you:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do whole-house water filters remove lead?

Yes, some whole-house filters are capable of removing lead by utilizing technology designed to effectively trap and eliminate lead from the water supply. Filters such as the SpringWell Lead & Cysts Removal System can provide clean water, free of lead, through every tap in the house.

What water filter is best for removing lead?

The SpringWell Lead & Cysts removal system is best for removing lead in water along with cysts, PFOA, and chlorine. The filter offers long life, high efficiency, and an extensive warranty. 

Are there any water filters that filter out lead?

Yes, there are various water filters available explicitly designed to remove lead from drinking water. Filters utilizing technologies such as reverse osmosis, special activated carbon, and certain ion exchange systems are effective at filtering out lead. There are many under-sink filters, filter pitchers, countertop filters, and whole-house filters that can remove lead from drinking water.

What size filter removes lead?

The size of a filter necessary to remove lead can vary. Generally, filters with a smaller micron size are more effective at capturing lead particles. For instance, filters with a 0.5-micron or smaller rating are often recommended for effectively removing lead from water. However, the specific size required can also depend on the water quality, flow rate, and the filtration method being used. It’s advisable to consult with a water treatment specialist to determine the appropriate filter size for lead removal based on your needs and water conditions.

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David Shogrin

I have been looking around for information of the so-called forever chemicals. How do you know if this is in my water. Can it be in city water? What do I do to see?

James Layton

The EPA is moving quickly to address this complex water quality issue. PFAS are widely used, long lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time.
Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment.There are thousands of PFAS chemicals, and they are found in many different consumer, commercial, and industrial products. This makes it challenging to study and assess the potential human health and environmental risks.Use of an activated carbon faucet filter or even better, a reverse osmosis filter system for your drinking water will protect you from these and other chemicals. Your water provider must test for these chemicals. You can get the test report from the local water authority. I prefer to take a proactive approach and go with a filter system that removes a variety of compounds that seem to be in just about every water supply at some level. Check out of Reverse osmosis and faucet filter reviews.