How Much Does a Water Filter Cost in 2024?

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

Key Takeaways

In this article, I’ll lead you through the different water filter systems and how much you should expect to invest in purchasing, installing, and maintaining each water filter system.

Whole-House Water Filters

A whole-house, or point-of-entry, filter will produce filtered water through every faucet and tap in your house. This kind of system is ideal for users who want to be able to drink from every tap instead of at a point-of-use location, such as a kitchen sink faucet.

City water has contaminants, such as chlorine and its by-products, that you may not want to shower in, and well water often contains metals that might stain your fixtures, for example, iron and manganese.

A whole-house water filter designed specifically for your batch of contaminants can prevent such effects. That means some are best for city water while others are suited to well water. Some well water contaminants can even damage certain types of filters, so you always want to make sure you get the best filter for your circumstances.

Whole-house filters are usually quite big, but just how big depends on how many stages as well as how big of a home you need it to service.

There are usually between one and six stages of filtration when it comes to whole-house filtration. Filters with the most stages have a more varied collection of technology and filter media and can filter out more types of contaminants.

The different filter technologies you’ll find in whole-house water filtration systems include ultraviolet (UV) disinfection, reverse osmosis (RO), activated carbon, oxidation, greensand, kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF), and sediment filters.

Each of these technologies removes a certain number of contaminants. For example, UV kills bacteria and viruses, whereas activated carbon can remove chlorine. Impurities such as ferrous iron need to be oxidized by either air or chlorine before they can be trapped in greensand.

The cost of a basic whole-house system will differ depending on the type of filtration and how big your home is.

Cost

Look for most single-cartridge whole-house systems to fall within the $100 to $200 range.

However, one stage means only one type of filtration. For example, one stage might be a sediment filter, which will only remove sediment, such as dirt, silt, and clay, but not chemicals, heavy metals, or bacteria.

Two-stage whole-house filters can set you back anywhere from $200 to $350.

While a little more comprehensive than a one-stage filter, with a two-stage filter you’re still limited to only two types of filtration. In such cases, you could use a sediment filter and an activated carbon filter, since activated carbon can remove a wide range of contaminants, including chlorine and its by-products, herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, and more.

Three-stage whole-house water filter systems are an even better way to effectively filter your home’s water supply and are priced in the range of $400 to $550.

When you start talking about four-stage, five-stage, or even-six stage whole-house filters, you’re talking comprehensive, effective filtration that cleans your water of everything and anything.

The SpringWell CF Series of whole-house filters for city water has four stages, and you can even add two more for extra. It can cost as low as $1,016 or as high as $3,300. The point is you can customize it to precisely meet your needs.

A range of $1,000 to $4,000 is pretty typical of whole-house filters with four or more stages. Because whole-house water filters are so popular, we’ve actually done a whole article just about the cost of a whole-house water filter.

Installation cost

Unless you’re a DIY superstar, it’s best to leave whole-house water filtration installations to the professionals. Messing with your drinking water supply is never wise.

Installation costs for a whole-house system can range from $500 to $4,000 depending on where you live and the condition and location of your water pipes. If you aren’t dealing with any significant issues or restrictions, you should expect to be ballparking such a system somewhere in the $500 to $2,000 range for professional installation.

However, most brands provide easy-to-follow installation instructions, so it’s not impossible to do it yourself.

Here’s a list of the best whole-house water filters.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration Systems

Without a doubt, the most coveted whole-house filter system is the one that features a sediment filter, UV sterilization, and a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane. RO systems are considered the top dog in the water filtration industry.

These point-of-entry or point-of-use filtration systems come at a higher cost, but remember, RO systems are pricey because they do so much work to deliver unbelievably clean water. 

Usually featuring a sediment filter and a carbon filter to protect the RO membrane from clogging and damage, these water filtration systems almost guarantee a clean drinking water experience.

Cost

Whole-house reverse osmosis

When it comes down to water filtration system cost, a whole-house reverse osmosis system will cost the most. Because, after all, it does the most.

In fact, whole-house reverse osmosis systems aren’t that common. They’re extremely expensive and they may do too much for what you need besides drinking water. To add a whole-house reverse osmosis filter to your home, plan on forking out anywhere from $1,000 to upwards of $15,000. 

See our list of the six best whole-house reverse osmosis systems here.

Under-sink reverse osmosis filter

Under-sink RO systems come in tankless and tank-based forms. The idea behind a tank is that you don’t have to wait for filtered water. The filter keeps the tank full, and if you empty it, it fills it right back up. The downside is that it takes up space under the sink. So some people turn to tankless under-sink filters. But tankless RO filters have their own set of downsides.

The good news is that costs don’t differ too much between tankless and tank-based systems.

They all run about $250 to $700.

Check out the best tankless reverse osmosis systems here.

Installation cost

If you’re buying your RO system from a dealer, expect to add $300 to $700 to your purchase price to have this whole-house water system installed. 

If you aren’t buying it from a dealer, book an appointment to have it installed and expect it to cost from $1,000 to $1,500. 

Under-Sink Water Filters

Besides reverse osmosis, other filtration technologies combine to create convenient under-sink water filters.

Usually consisting of a combination of sediment filtration, KDF, activated carbon, and ultrafiltration, these are effective and efficient systems that won’t waste as much water as reverse osmosis, but you’ll need to replace the filter media more often.

The benefit of having one of these filters under the sink is that you can have clean drinking water without paying the high prices of a whole-house filter or even an under-sink RO filter.

Cost

Under-sink filters, like whole-house filters, will cost more for more stages. Some are just one-stage filters, while others have as many as four stages. Under-sink filters that are not reverse osmosis can cost anywhere between $50 and $250.

Installation cost

If you have a bit of DIY in your blood, know how to turn off a water supply, and can tell the difference between a pipe and wrench, you can probably follow the instructions and figure this out without professional installation. 

If you are none of the things I mentioned above and your idea of DYI is making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, make an appointment for professional installation as soon as possible.

Under the sink, water filter installation can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,200 or a case of beer and a pizza if you have someone handy in the neighborhood.

From RO to activated carbon, here’s our list of the best under-sink water filters.

UV Water Purifiers

If your main concern is bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can cause waterborne illnesses, then a UV water purifier is in your future. While they can be added to customized filtration systems, you can also buy one on its own.

A UV filter works by taking your whole-house water supply and storing it in pipes that contain ultraviolet lights. UV light then kills the living organisms hiding in your municipal water supply, stopping them dead in their tracks before they can multiply and wreak havoc on your household.

Cost

There’s no doubt about it. 

An ultraviolet water filtration system cost is at the higher end of the spectrum, with units falling anywhere in the $150 to $2,000 range. Just keep in mind, when it comes to microbial contamination, I don’t recommend simply choosing the cheapest one. The lower priced UV filters may not be strong enough to kill the most resilient pathogens, such as giardia.

Installation cost

While some systems may be too complex to install yourself, many systems are easily installed DIY. Some even come with detailed installation instructions.  

If you do decide to have a professional install it, expect to pay about $500 to $1,500.

Here’s a list of the seven best UV water purifiers.

Pitcher Filters

Also known as gravity pitchers, filter pitchers contain two chambers, with either an activated carbon or activated alumina filter sitting between them.

As you fill the first chamber up, the water is filtered through the carbon filter, where it collects in the second chamber, waiting to be enjoyed.

If you’re looking for filtered drinking water but don’t want to go through the trouble of installing a water filtration system to achieve it, you’ve found your filter.

Filter pitchers are low maintenance and can filter harmful contaminants from your drinking water without really you having to do anything other than pour the tap water into them and change the filter every few months

Cost

The most affordable filtration system available, filter pitchers can range anywhere from $30 for a basic unit to $180 for the purchase of a top-shelf filtration system. 

Here’s a list of the seven best water filter pitchers.

Faucet-Mounted filters

Faucet filters have come pretty far from their humble beginnings as a water treatment system.

From the poorly designed units of the 1980s to the innovative features of current models, these point-of-use filters are a great way to achieve bottled water quality without the leftover harmful plastic bottles.

These units attach directly to your kitchen faucet. Some fancier faucets won’t be compatible with them, but most are. They can be a bit cumbersome, taking up space around the faucet, but some people like their convenience.

With no cumbersome pitchers to take up space in your fridge, faucet filters are often a go-to house filter system for those who lack the space to install a whole-house filtration system.

Cost

These are not state-of-the-art filters. They’re simply not big enough to fit in all the media you need to effectively filter a lot of contaminants. So they aren’t expensive. You can usually find a pretty decent one for about $40.

Check out our list of the best faucet-mounted filters.

Countertop filters

If you prefer a larger supply of filtered water to meet your daily water requirements without the cost of a large system, a countertop filter is the water purification system for you.

Many countertop filters have water tanks that can store almost a gallon of tap water. You don’t have to lift them like you would a pitcher, and they sit on the counter instead of taking up storage space under your sink.

There are also countertop filters that connect to your faucet but sit on the counter, like a faucet-mounted/countertop hybrid. These are less likely to get in the way when you wash dishes than an ordinary faucet filter would.

Countertop units use carbon filters to process unfiltered water and turn it into safe, drinkable water. Some also use advanced carbon, such as catalytic carbon, or activated alumina, which is effective at removing fluoride. 

Recent models offer a reverse osmosis system, as well, though these are more expensive than other countertop units.

Cost

Countertop filtration units can range from $50 to $500. Prices will vary based on filtration technology, capacity, and fancy, high-tech features.

Since you don’t really “install” these devices, the only extra cost will be the replacement filters, and the cost of them, as well as the frequency with which you have to replace them, is one thing you should consider when shopping for countertop filters.

See our list of the 10 best countertop filters for more information.

Conclusion

How much your water filter will cost depends on what type of filtration you want, your specific blend of contaminants, and how big your home and family are.

If you don’t want to spend a lot, a water filter pitcher or faucet-mounted filter will be your best bet. If you can spend a bit more and you don’t need filtered water in the whole house, go with an under-sink reverse osmosis system. If you want the best of the best, get a whole-house system with four or more stages that can filter as many contaminants as you need it to but expect to pay a few thousand dollars.

At Drinking Water, we’re committed to serving you up the latest and most accurate water treatment information. That’s why we team up with a water expert, James Layton — to give you trustworthy, expert recommendations.

To learn more, check out some of our other posts:

Did you recently buy a water filter? Would you like to tell us all about it? Please do, in our comment section below!

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