A whole house filter system, also known as a point of entry filter, is there to cleanse the life-giving element that’s keeping your family healthy, warm and clean. Water.

Yes, they’re not cheap and they do come with a lot of new terms to learn – water filter manufacturers sure don’t make it easy!

But, the benefits they can provide to your home are significant. Keep reading to discover the top 9 best whole house water filters you should check out, as well as a comprehensive guide to figuring out which you need and how to maintain it.

Best Rated Product

best whole house water filter

The iSpring WGB 22B is this year’s winner when it comes to whole house water filtration systems. It offers 2-stage filtration with a maximum capacity of 100,000 gallons – way more than most competing systems. Here are some quick details:

  • Up to 15 GPM
  • 1-inch NPT inlet and outlet ports
  • Filtration down to 5 microns
  • Polypropylene sediment filter, CTO carbon block filter
  • 1-year warranty

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Best Whole House Water Filter Reviews

Starting with our top recommendation, let us take you through the best whole house water filters for your home. You’ll find our honest opinions here, including both the best and worst things about each filter. Compare the key features of each to decide which is right for you.

iSpring WGB22B Whole House Water Filtration System

iSpring model whole house water filtration system review

  • 2-stage filtration
  • 35 pounds
  • 5 x 8.5 x 26 inches
  • 100,000-gallon capacity
  • Up to 15 GPM
  • Polypropylene sediment filter, CTO Carbon Block filter
  • 1-inch NPT inlet and outlet ports
  • Filtration down to 5-microns
  • Removes sediment, chlorine, rust, industrial solvents, and other chemical contaminants
  • 1-year limited warranty

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The iSpring WGB22B model is a 2-stage filter system for your home that meets NSF/ANSI standards 42 and 53. We’re reviewing the sediment and carbon block filter package, but you can also an iron/manganese filter package or a lead/iron filter package for the same model.

Changing what you filter from your water is as simple as ordering different filters from iSpring to attach. This model is compatible with all iSpring Big Blue Filter cartridges. To change filters, this model has a pressure release button to save you draining out water from the faucet. Just make sure you take off the plastic wrapper – this catches people out when they change filters!

The combination of a high capacity polypropylene sediment filter and CTO carbon block filter made with coconut shell carbon filters out 98% of sediment, chlorine, VOCs, herbicides, and other chemical contaminants. With the 100,000-gallon capacity of each filter, iSpring calculates that the filters will last a whole year for a family of 4.

If you have very hard water, this will reduce the lifespan of the filters. iSpring recommend installing the filter system after the water softener, rather than before.

Installing is moderately simple and won’t take you more than a day, even if you’re very new to plumbing. Installing it outdoors will void the warranty – it’s designed for indoor installation only. Despite this, customer service at iSpring are very helpful with installation tips and help you order the right filters and any NPT connectors to get the system set up.

Pros

  • Very high capacity
  • Easy to install
  • Ideal for high chlorine waters
  • Great customer service and support

Cons

  • Limited 1-year warranty
  • Indoor installation only
  • Not suitable for very hard waters
  • Large size is awkward to install in small spaces

DuPont WFPF13003B Whole House 15,000-Gallon Water Filtration System

whole house filter

  • 1-stage filtration
  • 3 pounds
  • 7 x 5.6 x 5.4 inches
  • 15,000-gallon capacity
  • Up to 5 GPM
  • Standard sediment filter
  • ¾-inch inlet and outlet ports
  • Filtration down to 10-microns
  • Removes sediment, odors, and flavors from water
  • 3-year limited warranty

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A cheap whole house water filter for medium-small households. There’s no denying it’s one of the budget options! The single filter is the standard 10-micron sediment filter that you can replace with any brand filter that’s 2.5 inches in diameter and 9.75 inches tall.

The main reason this cheap, low capacity, a single-stage filter made it onto our list is its versatility. Many customers buy 3 or even 4 of these filters and line them up one after the other. With the variety of filters, you can buy to fit this model, from charcoal filters to carbon blocks, customizing it is simple.

Basically, it allows you the opportunity to filter out the same sediment and contaminants as the iSpring at a fraction of the cost. You just need to put more effort into finding the filters you want and maintaining it. 15,000 gallons is not a huge capacity.

The filter is also suitable for a point of use filter. The small size (no more than 13.7 inches) can fit comfortably under most sinks. It’s also a good filter for offices, where water use is only for consumption, toilet flushing, and hand washing. We wouldn’t like to put this single filter to use in a large household when the shower, dishwasher, and tap are on all at the same time.

Overall, it’s a limited whole house water filter system, but definitely a viable option for the budget conscious and those that live in accommodation that’s short on space.

Pros

  • Small, lightweight and very easy to install
  • Filters can be swapped for better micron filters easily
  • Can become a point of use filter, due to size
  • 3-year limited warranty is excellent!

Cons

  • Filter quality isn’t great – multiple filters needed to see real improvement
  • 15,000-gallon capacity can’t keep up with most households that require whole house filters
  • Plastic is cheap and not very durable

iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

whole house filter system - iSpring WGB32B

  • 3-stage filtration
  • 35 pounds
  • 21 x 8 x 28 inches
  • 100,000-gallon capacity
  • Up to 15 GPM
  • Polypropylene sediment filter, 2x CTO Carbon Block filter
  • 1-inch NPT inlet and outlet ports
  • Filtration down to 5-microns
  • Removes sediment, chlorine, rust, industrial solvents and other chemical contaminants
  • 1-year limited warranty

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The only difference between this model and the 2-stage filter model is the number of stages. You’ve still got CTO carbon block filters and the same sediment filter to remove around 98% of contaminants – according to iSpring.

The CTO coconut shell carbon blocks that iSpring use have a higher density than ordinary carbon blocks. This increases the capacity and makes the filter more efficient at removing contaminants. Just like the 2-stage model, they can’t remove total dissolved solids, so those healthy minerals stay in your water. It’s ideal for removing the usual contaminants in municipal water supplies.

The difference in the taste and odor of your water is minimally better than the 2-stage filter, although it’s equally very good at its job. So why spend so much extra on a third filter system?

Our best answer is flexibility. The 2-stage model limits you to the sediment filter and carbon block filter. With this model, you can choose to keep the 2 carbon blocks to reduce as much chlorine as possible from your water, or you can mix it up.

If you’ve got a problem with high levels of iron in your water, you could potentially swap one of the carbon blocks with the compatible iron filter from iSpring. If you did this with the 2-stage filter system, you’d either be stuck with sediment in your water or the chlorine flavor, depending on which filter you decide to sacrifice.

Maintenance and installation are as simple and easy as all filter systems from iSpring.

Pros

  • Highly efficient at filtering odors and flavors with 2 carbon filters
  • Allows carbon block and specific filtering in the same system
  • High gallon capacity

Cons

  • Doesn’t do much more than the 2-stage filter from iSpring
  • Ordering different filters to swap around adds to the high cost
  • Limited 1-year warranty

3M AP903 Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filtration System

3M aqua-pure best water filtration

  • 1-stage filtration
  • 5 pounds
  • 6 x 6 x 27 inches
  • 100,000-gallon capacity
  • Up to 20 GPM
  • Carbon filter
  • 1-inch NPT inlet and outlet ports
  • Filtration down to 5-microns
  • Removes chlorine taste and odor, reduces sediment
  • Filters have 1-year limited warranty, stainless-steel filter head has 25-year warranty

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A 1-stage filtration system that has the specs of a multi-stage. The 3M Aqua-Pure keeps up with the best with 100,000-gallon capacity and 20 GPM flow rate. It may be small, but it can definitely keep up with large households.

What it can filter out is limited. It contains a standard non-woven pleat media carbon block filter that will remove chlorine flavors and odors exceptionally well. However, it only reduces levels of contaminants and sediment. Aqua-Pure recommend you install a pre-filter to remove rust, dirt and large sediment before installing this filter, as well as a bypass line. Not really what you want for a hassle-free whole house water system.

The other notable feature is the stainless-steel filter head. Unlike most plastic models, this is really built to stand the test of time with a 25-year warranty. It fits right onto the pipe and holds the large capacity filter in an extremely sturdy position. It’s manufactured from FDA CFR-21 compliant materials.

Our only other issue was that you can’t simply bulk buy carbon filters. You need to replace the whole cartridge as the actual carbon block can’t be removed from the plastic casing. This isn’t a problem for small/medium households that only replace filters once a year. For the eco-conscious or those with large households, it’s not practical.

Pros

  • High flow rate and capacity for medium/large households
  • Stainless-steel filter head is extremely sturdy and corrosion-resistant
  • Perfect for water with high levels of chlorine

Cons

  • Pre-filter system recommended for rust and large sediment
  • Bypass line needed for ease of maintaining the filter system
  • Can’t replace carbon filter without outer cartridge

Home Master HMF3SDGFEC

Home Master water filter system

  • 3-stage filtration
  • 48 pounds
  • 24 x 9 x 25 inches
  • 100,000-gallon capacity
  • 15 GPM+
  • Multi-gradient density sediment filter, iron reduction filter, granular activated carbon filter
  • 1-inch NPT inlet and outlet ports
  • Multi-step micron filtration from 25-microns to 1-micron
  • Removes fine sediment, 95% of chemicals and contaminants including iron and chlorine
  • 2-year limited warranty

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The Home Master whole house 3-stage filter is a hefty unit. It weighs almost 50 pounds and is extremely sturdy when plumbed into your pipes with the stainless-steel brackets. And yet, replacing the filters is a dream. It arrives fully assembled in the box for you. The filter system has clearly been designed with usability, reliability and crystal-clear water in mind… as a result, you’re going to need a large budget for this filter.

It’s expensive but, in our opinion, not overpriced. The first of the 3 filters included is a multi-gradient density sediment filter. The outside of the filter will filter down to 25 microns, moving down several gradient layers to a 5-micron layer at the center.

Next is the radial flow iron reduction filter. It effectively reduces iron in your water up to 3ppm – perfect if you’re trying to filter well water.

Finally, you’ve got the all-important granular activated coconut shell carbon filter to remove all manner of chemicals and contaminants, including chlorine and bad water flavors/odors.

The super large physical size of the filters and high capacity (sediment and iron filters have a 100,000-gallon capacity, carbon block filter has 95,000-capacity) makes it ideal for large households. Coupled with the 1-inch ports, the large filter capacity won’t reduce your water flow below 15 GPM.

If you have the budget, we highly recommend this system.

Pros

  • Highly efficient filter system, perfect for municipal and well water
  • Easy to change filters
  • 2-year warranty on the sturdy materials

Cons

  • A very heavy system that requires a large space so you can easily replace the filters
  • Expensive upfront costs (however the high capacity filters will save you money in the long-term)

EcoPure EPWHCW Central Water Filtration System

EcoPure EPWHCW whole house water filters

  • 1-stage filtration
  • 25 pounds
  • 1 x 13.4 x 33.8 inches
  • Auto-cleans every 14 days
  • Up to 6 GPM
  • Ecopure reusable internal filter
  • 1-inch inlet and outlet ports
  • Removes 95% of sediment 30 microns or larger
  • Removes sediment, chlorine and other chemical contaminants
  • 1-year limited warranty

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The main selling point of this filter is its eco-friendliness. It doesn’t require filter changes and it’s designed, engineered and assembled in the USA to reduce the travel carbon footprint of the product. Of course, that does mean sacrifices have been made elsewhere.

The sealed unit is not going to be easy to maintain if it breaks – and it’s not a filter system your plumber is likely to be accustomed to. It also needs a source of electricity to do its self-cleaning feature, which may strike it off your filter list already.

However, once it’s properly installed and working, it is a very good filter. Primarily, it removes chlorine, sediment and most chemical contaminants like you’d expect from a carbon filter. As a plus, it can also remove rust and larger dirt particles from your water. It’s not suitable for removing iron.

The filter unit will automatically flush, clean and drain every 14 days. It takes 20-minutes in total and can be programmed to happen at a time of day when you won’t be using any water. Like a reverse osmosis system, that does mean you’ll need to connect an outlet to drain the waste water away. Luckily the system comes with a drain hose to hook it up to the drain, plus a bypass valve for when the system auto cleans.

We liked the idea of a filter that doesn’t need replacing and definitely recommend it if eco-friendliness is important to you. If you need something easy to set up that can filter out a variety of contaminants – and you’re not fussed about the impact on the environment – try another from this list.

Pros

  • No need for replacement filters as it auto-flushes regularly
  • Eco-friendly without compromising the quality of your water
  • Meets NSF standards for removing chlorine

Cons

  • If the filter malfunctions, maintenance is not easy
  • Requires source of electricity to clean itself and backflush
  • Knowledge of plumbing and wiring required for installation

Culligan WH-HD200-C Whole House Sediment Water Filter

Culligan sediment water filter system for whole house

  • 1-stage filtration
  • 5 pounds
  • 5 x 8.3 x 16.3 inches
  • Up to 24,000-gallon capacity – dependent on filters used
  • Up to 8 GPM – dependent on filters used
  • Compatible Culligan filter cartridges: R50-BBSA, CW25-BBS, CP5-BBS, CW5-BBS, RFC-BBSA
  • 1-inch inlet and outlet ports
  • Filtration to 5-microns – dependent on filters used
  • All filters remove sediment including dirt, sand, and silt
  • 2-year limited warranty

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This filter holder is a compact, easy-to-install system that’s perfect for small/medium sized households. It’s compatible with Culligan’s cartridge filters which can be swapped around until you find the one that works best for your water.

There’s a built-in battery-operated timer that will count down until the filters need replacing. You’ll also find a built-in bypass-valve so changing the filters is simplified.

Installing it is easy – you don’t need to hire a plumber but do make sure you read the instructions. If you don’t line up the stainless-steel connector threads right when attaching it to your pipes, leaks can develop.

The capacity of this unit depends on the filters you choose to use with it (none are included in the box). The compatible models are:

R50-BBSA – basic sediment filter down to 50-microns and 24,000-gallon capacity.

CW25-BBS – fine sediment filter down to 25-microns, 8 GPM and 20,000-gallon capacity.

CP5-BBS – cellulose sediment filter down to 5-microns, 5 GPM and 12,000-gallon capacity.

CW5-BBS – polypropylene sediment filter down to 5-microns, 8 GPM and 16,000-gallon capacity.

RFC-BBSA – granular carbon filter (sediment, contaminants, and chlorine) down to 25-microns, 3 GPM and 10,000 capacity.

As you can see, the capacity isn’t huge but you do have a lot of choices! If you’re concerned about sediment more than anything else, this filter is an excellent option.

Pros

  • Easy to install and maintain with built-in bypass valve
  • Very good at removing all kinds of sediment
  • Clear glass allows you to see the state of the filter

Cons

  • Initial cost doesn’t include filters which must be purchased separately
  • Compatible Culligan filters generally have low capacities
  • Only 1 carbon filter compatible with this model

Watts WH-LD Premier Whole House Water Filtration System

Watts WH-LD water filter system review for whole house

  • 1-stage filtration
  • 4 pounds
  • 5 x 5.5 x 14 inches
  • 15 to 50 GPM
  • Sediment filter
  • ¾-inch inlet and outlet ports
  • Filtration down to 50-microns
  • Removes sediment, dirt and rust
  • 1-year limited warranty

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Our best budget whole house water filter system is the Watts Premier WH-LD. It’s a simple, 1-stage filter with a clear plastic case so you can monitor how the filter is performing. The capacity of the filters included in the box is unknown – they last some people a few weeks, others a few months. Watts suggest they last 6-12 months, but we dispute that!

The set comes with 3 filters to get you started. When it comes to replacing those, you need the 304007 filter cartridge from Premier or any standard 10 x 4.25-inch sediment filter. Various cheap and high-end filter providers have standard filters that will fit this model, including Culligan. Buying different filters does give you the opportunity to increase the capacity as well.

If part of the housing unit breaks, you’ll need to buy the whole filter system again and re-install it as replacement parts are unavailable. That won’t put a strain on your wallet due to the budget price, but re-installing can be a pain if you’re not a confident plumber.

It’s designed to fit right before your water softener or carbon filter, removing all types of visible sediment, rust, and dirt before it clogs up your whole system. It won’t remove chemical contaminants like herbicides or chlorine, nor will it remove scale, hard minerals or very fine sediment.

If you want to filter out all sediment, you can try installing multiple filter units one after the other with cartridges going down from 50 microns to 5 microns. This could have an effect on your water pressure, however.

Overall, it’s a reliable filter shell that allows you to chop and change filters to suit your water in small/medium households. For the price, we love it.

Pros

  • Compatible with most 10-inch filters
  • Great budget price and sturdy construction
  • Materials used are cheap and can’t withstand high-pressure for large households

Cons

  • No wall mounts included in the box
  • You’ll need plumbing skills to install it
  • 50-micron filtration isn’t very impressive

Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter

Express Water heavy metal whole house water filter

  • 3-stage filtration
  • 65 pounds
  • 5 x 8.5 x 29.5 inches
  • 100,000-gallon capacity
  • Up to 15 GPM
  • Sediment filter, kinetic degradation fluxion filter, activated carbon block filter
  • 1-inch inlet and outlet ports
  • Filtration down to 5-microns
  • Removes sediment, heavy metal contaminants and chemical contaminants
  • 1-year limited warranty and free lifetime support

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If you were looking for a whole house water system with all the bells and whistles, this is the one for you. It has an impressive range of features, including 3 superior 100,000-gallon capacity filters.

The sediment filter, the first your water hits, removes sediment down to 5-microns using multi-gradient layers like the Home Master system.

Next is the kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF) filter. This stage captures heavy metal contaminants including lead, iron, hydrogen sulfide, chlorine and many more (check the manual for an extensive list). It’s made with catalytic carbon and high purity ionically charged copper and zinc granules – you don’t have to know what that means, just believe us when we say it’s impressive and highly effective.

The final filter stage is the carbon block to remove any odors and flavors that miraculously made it through the first 2 stages. The activated carbon removes herbicides, pesticides, and other complex chemical contaminants.

The unit itself is very well-made with a stainless-steel free-standing frame. It comes equipped with everything you need to install it against the wall or free-standing on the floor. Despite all the complex filters between the inlet and outlet pipes, it’s no more difficult to install than the simple filter systems on this list. You might need a hand lifting it up, however!

Our only complaint is that there’s no bypass built-in to the filter or available to buy with the system. A quick search on Amazon and some plumbing know-how should enable you to install one.

Pros

  • Filters out a huge range of contaminants
  • Sturdy construction with food-grade materials
  • Very easy to replace and swap round filter cartridges

Cons

  • Expensive system and replacement filters
  • Large size is unsuitable for small spaces
  • No bypass system included

What Is A Whole House Water Filter?

It’s very self-explanatory!

A whole house water filter is a filtration system that’s installed to filter all the water in your home. Unlike a single water filter that might attach under the sink, a whole house water filter will attach at the point of entry.

These filter systems are capable of filtering high quantities of water and are installed on the main pipe bringing water to your home.

By filtering the water at the point it enters your home, you can filter every single drop, no matter where it comes out of the tap, showerhead or sprinkler.

This can be more cost effective and energy efficient than single point filters on every tap in every room.

The Complete Whole House Water Filter Buying Guide

So, what did you think about that 5-micron carbon block filter?

If that sentence leaves you scratching your head, you definitely need to read this guide. We’re going to cover all the components of a whole house water filter, including what’s important and what’s not, so you know whether you’re buying a good water filter or not.

Scroll below the choosing sections to find tips on installation and maintenance too. As you’re going to find out, a whole house water filter needs some TLC from time to time.

Make sure you don’t miss a trick with our complete whole house water filter guide.

How to Choose a Good Water Filter For Your Home

Besides choosing a filter system that fits your budget and is compatible with your home, there are some key aspects you should look for and compare.

Water Flow

How much water can it handle? Look for a GPM (gallons per minute) figure. Flushing a toilet can use up to 3 GPM while a running the dishwasher could use 4 GPM or more. You need a filter system that can handle enough GPM to cope with your everyday use. You don’t want the water pressure to drop while you’re in the shower because someone flushed the toilet downstairs.

Filter Stages

Whole house water filters give you the opportunity to try multiple filters in stages. Judge sediment filters by the number of microns they filter down to. The smaller the number, the more sediment it will filter. Carbon filters remove chlorine, odors, and flavors. UV filters kill bacteria and viruses (but don’t remove it). Reverse osmosis filters completely purify your water, even removing the healthy/harmless nutrients and minerals.

Capacity

This refers to how much sediment or impurities the filters can hold. It ties closely to water flow. High water flow + low filter capacity = frequently replacing the filters.

You might also need to check the capacity of the tubes included with the water filtration system if you’re planning to swap for bigger filters to increase the water flow capacity.

For whole house reverse osmosis systems, capacity can also refer to the amount of wastewater it can hold/process.

Filter Replacement and Maintenance

Can you easily find replacement filters and how much do they cost? Check Amazon for replacement filters or contact the manufacturer – they may be able to strike you a deal if you subscribe to have filters delivered every 6 months.

Check if any replacement filter from the manufacturer will do, or whether you need filters specific to your model number.

Generic filters may be cheaper, but also low quality. It’s really up to you if you want to risk your water filtration with fake-brand filters – think about what you can afford in the long term before buying.

Does It Need to Meet NSF Standards?

NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) standards are international standards set for water filtration systems. There’s no FDA or federal regulations for home water filters and the NSF regulations are not compulsory.

A water filter system that doesn’t state an NSF standard isn’t necessarily a bad water filter system, but we certainly advise you stick to those that are regulated by the NSF! You don’t want to risk contaminants filtering through.

The NSF checks water filters for safety and performance.

  • NSF/ANSI 42 – safely filters chlorine, bad tastes, and odors.
  • NSF/ANSI 53 – safely filters potentially harmful contaminants via carbon filter.
  • NSF/ANSI 55 – safely filters bacteria and viruses via UV light.
  • NSF/ANSI 58 – safely filters water through reverse osmosis.

If you find a different standard number, check it out with NSF.

Longevity of Filter

Calculating filter longevity doesn’t just tell you a bit about the quality of the filter, it also gives you an indication of ongoing costs to maintain your filter.

It’s much more accurate to calculate filter longevity by the water flow and capacity.

For example, our top choice for the best whole house water filter has a carbon block filter with a capacity for 100,000 gallons of water.

That might last you 18 months, but for households that use more water, it may only last a year.

To help you calculate, each person in the US uses approximately 80 to 100 gallons per day according to the USGS.

What Type of Whole House Water Filter Do You Need?

The first thing to determine is whether you need a whole house filter or if single filters at each tap would be more appropriate.

If you just want to improve the taste of your water and aren’t fussed about using unfiltered water for the dishwasher or shower, then a single filter unit installed under the kitchen sink is going to be much more cost effective!

For whole house filters, you need to determine the filter type you need. There are two things here that you need to work out. The first is how much water needs filtering. That will tell you the size and capacity of the filter you need. Second is what you want to filter out of the water, or what you want to fix with your water supply. For example:

  • Improve the odor and flavor of your water for drinking and cooking. A carbon block filter will remove odor, flavor, chlorine and some sediment.
  • Improve water quality for showering, bathing and washing clothes. A ceramic filter is a good choice, as they can balance the pH of water while removing contaminants.
  • Remove sediment, like dirt particles, from your water supply. A sediment filter that will remove sediment down to 5 microns.
  • Remove harmful contaminants and chemicals from your water supply. Depending on the particular chemicals or minerals you want to remove, carbon filters
  • Kill bacteria and viruses present in your water supply. A UV filter will kill any harmful microorganisms, but won’t remove sediment or other contaminants in the water.
  • Completely purify your water of all minerals and nutrients, good and bad. A reverse osmosis filter will purify your water – this may be necessary if you have allergies to certain minerals or if you need to maintain a cleanroom.

Work out what you want and that will narrow down the field for you!

Why You Must Have a Whole House Water Filter System

If there’s something polluting your water supply (intentionally like chlorine, or unintentionally like herbicides) that are affecting water use all around your house, you need a whole house water filter system.

The whole house water system filters all water, from the toilet to the boiler. Here are the potential benefits:

  • Reduce scale, corrosive sediment and hard minerals. This will keep your taps and showerheads clean of scale, as well as extend the life of your pipework.
  • Reduce chlorine and other irritant contaminants. High levels of chlorine will keep your water clean of pathogens (bacteria, viruses etc.) but can really irritate your skin, cause dandruff and brittle hair. It can also irritate asthma when you breathe in the steam.
  • Destroy pathogens. If there are low levels of chlorine in your water or contaminants could be getting in elsewhere, a filter can deactivate or destroy bacteria and viruses that otherwise would be in your drinking water and used for cleaning your dishes.
  • Remove other contaminants. Whole house water filter systems have multiple stages, meaning you’ll be able to filter our excess iron and reduce scale or install a UV light and filter for herbicides. You have more flexibility to decide what you filter out and what you don’t.

For large households, they’re easier to install and maintain than individual filters at every point of use. Don’t let the price tag put you off – when compared with maintaining multiple points of use filters, they often cost less per gallon of water filtered.

When You Might Not Need a Water Filter System at Home

Obviously, if there’s nothing wrong with your water there’s no need for a filter system!

There are also other times when it may appear that you need a filter when actually you don’t. Corroded, cracked or outdated pipes can leach contaminants into your water supply. In this case, fixing the pipe is going to be a better solution.

Furthermore, when you’re renting or living in a 1-bed apartment and fitting a whole house water filter would mean disruptive work for you and the neighbors… is it really worth it?

In homes where the main or only benefit of filtering water is fresh drinking water from the tap, a point of use filter is much more suitable.

How Does a Home Water Filter System Work?

A home water filter system works by attaching to the main water pipe bringing water to your home. Water flows through your pipes, into the filter system where it’s filtered via various means, then exits the filter system back into your pipes and up into your home.

Most rely on the water pressure that’s already there. So, when you turn on the tap, water rushes up the pipes and through the system to reach you.

The filters used in modern water filters aren’t like a sieve or strainer. Instead, they contain mediums that adsorb, exchange or use some other method of filtration. An activated carbon filter, for example, adsorbs chemical contaminants like chlorine by pulling them out of the water (the technical term is chemical adsorption). A UV filter uses light to deactivate or destroy pathogens like bacteria, viruses and other micro-organisms.

These filters need replacing or cleaning regularly – all those contaminants don’t just disappear!

A (very) short history of modern water filtration

We first started filtering water mechanically using aluminum sulfate in the 1800s, before this time filtering water was mostly just to remove sediment. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that chlorine was added to water. A century later and we’re now very focused on how chlorine and other chemicals affect our water supply, leading to the modern water filter system that can be installed in our homes.

These units can range from the size of a sports bottle to cabinet unit.

Multi-stage units are larger – they’re simply multiple filters stacked one after the other.

The first filter your water should hit is a sediment filter. This will take out sediment like sand, dirt, and rust. By having the sediment filter first, you prevent hard particles hitting your carbon filter and reducing the life of that filter more than usual.

Next will be heavy metal filters if you’re using them. Some are designed to remove a single element, like iron or lead, while others will take out all heavy metals regardless of type. The biggest contaminant problem that people are looking to solve is chlorine – a heavy metal filter won’t remove that from your water.

For chlorine and other chemical contaminants, like herbicides that have run off the fields and into the water supply, a carbon block filter is perfect.

Finally, you can include water softeners and even pH balancers after that point.

If in doubt about which filter to place where remember that your water should go through filters to remove the large particles before graduating down to filters that remove the small particles.

Whole House Water Filter System Installation & Maintenance Guide

There’s no shame in calling a plumber to install your system – it’s better to get it done right than cause serious damage if you don’t know what you’re doing!

But, for most people, installing a water filter system takes an afternoon with the manual and a few YouTube videos. It’s not rocket science, just pay attention to what you’re doing.

How to Install a Whole House Water Filter?

Put your ego aside, step 1 is always to read the manual. Most will give you guidelines similar to these simple steps:

  • Turn off the water at the mains, then turn all the taps on in your home until the water has drained out completely.
  • Find the best location where your chosen filter will be easy to fit and access.
  • Measure and mark the pipes to cut out a section where your filter will fit (it’s better to cut small amounts and adjust, rather than cutting too much and needing to install a new pipe).
  • Add the inlet and outlet connectors, using Teflon tape on the fittings.
  • Screw on the filter, making sure the inlet and outlet are the right way around (you may need to add mounting brackets if you’re against a wall at this stage).
  • Turn the mains on and run water through to check for leaks.

How to Change a Whole House Water Filter?

It’s similar to the installation process.

  • Turn off the water at the mains and drain out the system. If you have a bypass valve, you just need to flick whichever switch diverts water away from the filter.
  • Using a wench or simply unscrew the casing that holds the filter cartridge. This will be full of water that you’ll need to dispose of.
  • Remove the cartridge and throw it in the garbage.
  • Unwrap the new cartridge, check if it needs to be a certain way up, then plug or clip the new cartridge in.
  • Replace the casing and double check that everything is done up tight.
  • Turn the mains water back on or switch away from the bypass valve.

List of Best Whole House Water Filters

ProductDetailsRating
iSpring WGB22B whole house filtration system
iSpring WGB22B
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  • 2-stage filtration

  • 100,000 gallon capacity

  • Up to 15 GPM

  • 1-year limited warranty

5/5
DuPont whole house water filter system review
DuPont WFPF13003B
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  • 1-stage filtration

  • 15,000 gallon capacity

  • Up to 5 GPM

  • 3-year limited warranty

4.7/5
iSpring whole house water filter
iSpring WGB32B
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  • 3-stage filtration

  • 100,000 gallon capacity

  • Up to 15 GPM

  • 1-year limited warranty

4.8/5
3M aqua-pure whole-house filter system for water
3M Aqua-Pure
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  • 1-stage filtration

  • 100,000 gallon capacity

  • Up to 20 GPM

  • 1-year limited warranty

4.5/5
Home Master whole house water filters review
Home Master
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  • 3-stage filtration

  • 100,000 gallon capacity

  • 15+ GPM

  • 2-year limited warranty

4.3/5
EcoPure whole house water filter review
Eco Pure
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  • 1-stage filtration

  • Up to 6 GPM

  • 1-year limited warranty

4.1/5
Culligan whole house filter for water
Culligan WH-HD200-C
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  • 1-stage filtration

  • 24 gallon capacity

  • Up to 8 GPM

  • 2-year limited warranty

4.2/5
Watts WH-LD water filtration system for whole house
Watts WH-LD
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  • 1-stage filtration

  • 15 to 50 GPM

  • 1-year limited warranty

4.0/5
Express Water whole house filter for water
Express Water
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  • 3-stage filtration

  • 100,000 gallon capacity

  • up to 15 GPM

  • 1-year limited warranty

4.0/5

Concluding Thoughts

The whole house filter market is swamped with hundreds of filter systems all using the same standard sediment or carbon block filter. What we’ve managed to do is narrow it down to the best that genuinely have something to offer.

If you need a basic sediment filter that’s not made of cheap plastic and destined to break in a month, the Watts WH-LD is a good place to start.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the iSpring 3-stage filtration system or complex Express filtration system both offer you the security of knowing your water is completed purified of the contaminants you wish to avoid.