How To Know If Your Water Filter Is Any Good

How to Know if Your Water Filter is Any Good

Many people think that water filters perform equally, so they grab a water pitcher filter at their big box store without thinking. Or, they install a Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filter system and assume they’re getting the purest water available. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Why? Because water filter effectiveness varies significantly.

Water Filter Effectiveness – Performance Varies

Even among the same type of filters, the effectiveness can vary. You might assume that a water pitcher filter performs the same across brands. But, it’s not true. Take the Brita water pitcher filter for example. It removes Chlorine and a handful of other contaminants. While another pitcher removes over 200 contaminants. That’s a huge difference in the purity of your water.

For RO systems, you can also have a difference in effectiveness. One RO system might remove 50% of a contaminant like arsenic, while another may reduce 99.9%. If you have arsenic in your drinking water, you’d obviously want the one with the better performance.

With this wide variation in effectiveness, how do you know if your water filter is any good? You can assess your water filter effectiveness by following these steps.

1. Find & Read the Test Reports

The worthwhile water filter manufacturers have their water filters tested by certified third-party labs. These labs confirm the manufacturer’s claims. It’s not difficult for filter makers to test their products, and short of testing your water yourself, it is the only way you’ll know whether your filter is performing to your expectations.

Most water filter companies publish the lab test reports on their websites. If the reports aren’t published, call the company to request a report. Some companies don’t bother to test and you’ve got to wonder why. You should never buy a water filter that hasn’t been tested by a certified third-party lab. Period.

The next step is to analyze the report. Below is a portion of a report from a brand name water pitcher filter. As you can see, it is limited to removing Chlorine and a handful of other substances. Notice that it doesn’t even reduce lead!

Compare that to a report on a high-performing pitcher, the Propur Water Pitcher. There’s a big difference in the number of water pollutants that the pitcher filters remove. The report is just one page out of a six-page report.

On the surface, it may seem that all water pitchers are the same, but when you look more closely, you can see the meaningful differences. It’s always good to read the lab test reports.

2. Verify the Third-Party Lab

Step 2 is to verify that the lab that performed the tests is certified. Filters certified by NSF are by definition certified. If your filter is not certified by NSF, then you should do an online search for the lab and look for proof that they are certified to test water filters. You can typically find this proof in the “about us” section of the website.

Some water filter manufacturers post their in-house test results, cherry-picking their best numbers to compare to other filters. Don’t fall for this approach. It’s always best to compare performance by analyzing the full reports side-by-side from certified labs.

3. Get to Know Your Water

The last step is to gather information about your water quality. Start by doing a search for your city’s water quality report. Enter your city name followed by “water department report” to see the latest posted water report for your municipality.

As you read the report, start by understanding whether your water department uses chlorine or chloramines to disinfect your water. If you see chloramine in the report, then you’ll know that your water filter needs to remove chloramine. This is a key point. Most brand name water pitcher filters remove chlorine and not chloramine. In fact, the brand name water pitcher’s report above clearly shows it removes only chlorine.

Scan the rest of the report. Look for areas where your water department is failing to meet the MCLG which is the stricter standard. Maybe your water department detected arsenic in your water. According to the EPA, no amount of arsenic is safe, but some arsenic is allowed due to the cost of removing it. If this were the case for your water, you’d want a water filter that removed 99.9% of arsenic to do the job your water department can’t do because of the expense.

When you read the water quality reports, keep in mind that not all harmful contaminants are regulated. For example, PFOAs are not yet regulated but are harmful to your health. So, even if your city’s report looks squeaky clean, your water may have pollutants you’d rather not consume.

After getting to know your water and analyzing your water filter effectiveness based on the certified lab results, you’ll know whether your filter is meeting your expectations.

How to Make it Easier

If this all seems overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! At, you can rely on our water filter recommendations and have quick and easy access to the third-party lab results.

Questions? We love to help. Please contact us.

How to Know if Your Water Filter is Any Good

8 Powerful But Simple Changes to Make You Healthier

8 Powerful Yet Simple Changes to Make You Healthier at Home

Sometimes it seems that making healthy choices is a burden. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with that healthy choice list that you “should” do, but can’t fit into your life.  Trying to fit more “healthy” into your life can feel like trying to fit into that pencil skirt after the holidays. Fortunately, you can make powerful yet simple changes today that will reduce your exposure to nasty additives, making it easier to live well at home.

8 Simple Changes to Live Healthier at Home

Here’s a list of 8 changes you can make today, with little effort. No shopping needed. In fact, some might actually save you some time.

1. Stop Using Scented Candles

Perfumed candles have a few strikes against them. First, most candle makers use paraffin, a chemically-bleached petroleum by-product. When you burn paraffin, it pollutes your air.

Second, candle makers use synthetic perfumes to scent candles. Neither the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) aggressively regulates these synthetic perfumes. As a result, you have no way of knowing what’s being released into your air. Perfumes can contain any one of 3,000 or more ingredients many toxic and unregulated. Some fragrances contain phthalates and other substances known to cause cancer and disrupt hormones.

The third strike against perfumed candles are the wicks. Some manufacturers make candles with wicks that contain lead. By avoiding scented candles, you can improve your indoor air quality and breathe easier. Healthier substitutes are available.

2. Toss Scratched Kitchen Plastic

If you’re still using plastic in your kitchen, take a look at your collection. You probably have more than you think if you include plastic storage containers, drinking cups, water bottles, cooking utensils, and other plastic. Chances are that your kitchen plastic is scratched from use.

Consider tossing your scratched and worn kitchen plastic into the recycling bin. The scratches may make it more likely that plastic toxins can leach into your food and drink. Plus anything hot can also cause a transfer of plastic materials into your food. Not exactly appetizing, or safe.

Plastic has a way of accumulating in a kitchen, so you probably won’t even miss the items you toss, and you’ll be healthier.

3. Avoid the Self-Cleaning Oven Feature

You may think that using the self-cleaning setting on your oven is a brilliant solution because it cleans without oven cleaner.

Unfortunately, the self-cleaning oven can fill your house with pollutants. When your oven reaches over 600 degrees, it can start emitting nasty fumes. These fumes come from your oven’s interior coating off-gassing or residual food burning and releasing carbon monoxide. Neither is good.

While it is well documented that pet birds can succumb to self-cleaning oven fumes, it’s unclear how toxic the fumes are to humans, with the exception of carbon monoxide.

Why risk it?

You know when you use the self-cleaning feature, your house fills with fumes that last for hours. Do you really want to breathe that?

Learn how to safely clean your oven without the dangerous fumes. It won’t consume more time. And, the benefit is much cleaner and healthier indoor air.

4. Open Your Windows

One of the simplest things you can do to make your home healthier is to open your windows.

Why? Because indoor air is dirtier than outdoor air. Airing out your house periodically will improve the air you breathe. EPA studies confirm that indoor air pollutants are typically 2-5 times higher than outdoor air.

How does indoor air get so polluted? It’s pretty simple. Your household furnishings and daily activities release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). And then to make matters worse, most of the time you’ve got your windows closed trapping pollutants inside.

So, what is to blame for all the VOCs in your bedroom?

Here’s a partial list: carpets, paint, wall coverings, fabrics, scented candles, air fresheners, perfumes, pressed wood furniture, polyurethane foam furniture, adhesives, and showering.

One of the main indoor air polluting culprits is formaldehyde. Tests show formaldehyde in homes is 20-200 times higher than outdoor suburban air.

If it’s not practical to open your windows, you’ve got other options like an air cleaner that will purr gently, cleaning your air while you sleep. The top rated air cleaner is ideal for removing 99.97% of airborne dust, mold, formaldehyde, bacteria, viruses, pet dander, and pollen.

5. Stop Using Air Fresheners

If you only do one thing on this list, stop using air fresheners. Because government regulators like the CPSC have banned only a handful of hazardous chemicals, your air freshener can contain dangerous toxins. For example, the Environmental Working Group tested Febreze Air Effects and found 89 airborne contaminants including acetaldehyde which the EPA considers a likely human carcinogen.

In 2010, a University of Washington study found that eight widely used air fresheners released an average of 18 chemicals into the air. On average, one in five of these chemicals were hazardous substances. In addition, half the air fresheners tested released acetaldehyde, a likely carcinogen.

It’s frightening, isn’t it? By using air fresheners, you are releasing carcinogens and hormone disruptors into your home.

6. Toss Non-Stick Cookware

Non-stick cookware can release dangerous fumes if overheated. There’s actually a name for the flu-like symptoms. It’s called Polymer Fume Fever in humans. Overheated non-stick cookware fumes are sometimes fatal to birds.

You should try to avoid any type of non-stick cookware like pans, pie tins, and cupcake tins. And, don’t forget the cookie sheets. Non-stick pans that are scratched or worn may be more likely to release hazardous fumes and leach into your food, so consider tossing those items now.

Try these other great ways to cook without the worry or risk.

  • Stainless Steel (actually better for cooking than non-stick)
  • Cast Iron
  • Ceramic Baking Dishes
  • Glass Baking and Pie Dishes

7. Don’t Microwave in Plastic

Heating plastic in a microwave may result in more toxins leaching into your food. Find other options for safer microwaving. Use glass or ceramic and cover it with a paper towel rather than plastic.

You also may want to consider warming food on your stove or in the oven.

8. Air Out Dry Cleaning

The last simple change is about reducing your exposure to dry cleaning chemicals. Most dry cleaners use Perchlorethylene (PERC). Did you know that PERC is a suspected carcinogen and neurotoxin?

It’s true. And, a Georgetown University study proved PERC is retained in dry-cleaned clothes. One way to reduce the amount of PERC in your bedroom closet is to remove the dry cleaning bags and air out the clothes in a well-ventilated area before hanging in your closet.

You can also opt for the “press only” option in some cases instead of using full dry cleaning services.

Want to learn more about reducing toxins in your home and making the best choices for you and your family? Sign up for our 12-week e-course called The Zen of Pure Living. Each week, you’ll get a short email with important information and easy steps you can take.

8 powerful simple changes to make you healthier at home


Why Experts Agree that “Hypoallergenic” is Meaningless

Why Experts Agree that Hypoallergenic Claims are Meaningless

Many people feel safer buying products labeled as hypoallergenic. It’s hard not to be influenced by products with hypoallergenic claims. With all the product safety regulations, most people assume that “hypoallergenic” means something. The term hypoallergenic conjures images of perfect, pristine ingredients and extensive testing, resulting in a safer product than products without the claim.

If only this were true!

In reality, there is no Federal standard by the FDA or the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) that governs the term hypoallergenic.

According to the FDA, the term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean. No regulatory body requires manufacturers to substantiate claims of being hypoallergenic. The FDA does not require third-party testing or even proof of any sort of testing.

History of FDAs Regulation Attempts

In the 1970’s, the FDA proposed regulation requiring cosmetic makers to conduct tests to substantiate hypoallergenic claims. Unfortunately, product manufacturers challenged the regulation in the courts and ultimately, the courts ruled against the FDA. Since then, the FDA has not succeeded in regulating the term.

The upshot being that hypoallergenic is simply a marketing term.

Hypoallergenic Claims

As a result, manufacturers can make hypoallergenic claims without any supporting evidence. And, as a consumer, you have no assurance that a “hypoallergenic” product will produce fewer allergic reactions than other products. You also have no assurance that these products will be more gentle to your skin.

How to Protect Yourself

You can take steps to protect yourself by reading the product ingredients and avoiding unhealthy, toxic substances. The FDA requires manufacturers to list most cosmetic ingredients on the label, with one exception. The exception is important. It allows manufacturers to list the generic term “fragrance” rather than the real substance.

The ability to obscure substances on labels poses problems because the term fragrance can represent over 3000 substances, some toxic and unhealthy. Clearly, not anything like you’d expect in a truly hypoallergenic product.

How do you protect yourself?

The best way to avoid unhealthy products is to use the Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep database. The database provides assessments and ratings for products. It will highlight any ingredients that may cause skin irritation, hormone disruption, asthma, cancer and more.

To summarize, as a consumer, you are not protected by product labeling regulations. You cannot trust the term hypoallergenic, but you can take steps to find the safest products.

Want to learn more about making the best choices for you and your family? Sign up for our 12-week e-course called The Zen of Pure Living. Each week, you’ll get a short email with important information and easy steps you can take.


Why Experts Agree that Hypoallergenic is Meaningless

Brilliant Gift Ideas Under $40 for a Healthy Life


Need some genius gift ideas for that healthy, eco-conscious person on your list? Try this list

Need some brilliant gift ideas for women? Especially the women you know who are healthy and eco-friendly? This list is sure to solve your problem. Many of these brilliant gift ideas would make great stocking stuffers or hostess gifts.

More Brilliant Gift Ideas…

All Natural Scents by Givescent

GIVESCENT All Natural Perfume

So many perfumes and colognes contain ingredients like phthalates and formaldehyde which are harmful to inhale or absorb. But, it’s hard to give up wearing a scent, isn’t it? What’s the solution?

We found GIVESCENT, a company that makes products that are free of alcohol, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates and sulfates. And, they support wonderful organizations that aid women including Women for Women International and Every Mother Counts. Five percent of each purchase goes to these worthy organizations.

Givescent Signature Scent is a captivating blend of sun-ripened citrus and spicy vanilla inspired by the first sultry summer days in Italy.

Givescent Azure is a tranquil beach scent with subtle notes of amber and musk inspired by long summer days on the coast of Southern California.

Givescent Green is an invigorating blend of bergamot, lemon, and mint inspired by the citrus groves of the Mediterranean.

Givescent Orange is a sensuous blend of bergamot, grapefruit, and musk inspired by summer afternoons on the coast of Sardinia.

Regularly $49.00 – On Sale While Supplies Last $39.99 BUY NOW

Wool Dryer Balls with Lavender

Dryer Balls with LavenderThese wool dryer balls are handmade, felted, unscented, and 100% wool. Includes a 1 oz. vial of pure lavender essential oil. The balls will dry your clothes 15-20% faster, soften your clothing, and help reduce static. The lavender scent is calming.

Dryer Balls work by circulating the air in the dryer which allows the air to reach more of the laundry more quickly, causing the clothes to dry faster. Using more balls increases their effectiveness.

You’ll need a minimum of 3 balls (4 or 5 is really better for larger loads) to get the benefits.

Simply place several drops of lavender essential oil on the wool balls for a relaxing and fresh laundry scent.

$33.99 BUY NOW

Bee’s Wrap – Plastic Wrap Alternative

Looking for a way to reduce plastic and keep cheese, bread, and vegetables fresher? Try Bee’s Wrap, the plastic wrap alternative. Start with this Assorted Set of 3 in small, medium and large and then come back for more!

The perfect alternative to plastic wrap! Wrap bread, cheese, vegetables, or cover a bowl. Bee’s Wrap is the sustainable, natural alternative to plastic wrap for food storage.

Use the warmth of your hands to soften the wrap and create a seal. When cool, the wrap holds its shape.

Reusable: Wash in cool water with mild soap. Lasts up to 1 year.

Made in the USA of beeswax, organic cotton, organic jojoba oil and tree resin. Beeswax and jojoba oil have antibacterial properties.

Assorted Set of 3 includes:

  • 1 Small (7″ x 8″) wrap a lemon, avocado or small snack.
  • 1 Medium (10″ x 11″) wrap cheese, carrots, herbs or cover a bowl.
  • 1 Large (13″ x 14″) wrap half a melon, greens, baked goods or cover a bowl.

Watch the video to see how Bee’s Wrap works!

$18.00 BUY NOW

Organic Hydrating Mist

Hydrating Mist

Tones and hydrates with a refreshing blend of rosehip, ylang-ylang, resveratrol grapeseed oil and organic juices for a fresh, radiant complexion.

The perfect pick me up for dry winter months. Works for all skin types. Simply spritz Hydrating Mist on your face for a hydrating boost.


  • Tones & refreshes with resveratrol from organic grapeseed
  • Aromatherapeutic with pure essential oils of ylang-ylang & rosehips
  • Hydrates with organic aloe

Free of parabens, petroleum, propylene, sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, anything artificial and synthetic fragrances.

5 Star Rating.


Reusable Produce Bags

The perfect alternative to grocery store produce bags! Made of fine mesh with a drawstring. Machine washable and virtually weightless. Customers rave about these bags. Each bag can save over 1000 plastic bags.

These reusable bags are also great for bulk purchases like nuts. And, you can use them for making your own nut milk.

Reusable:  You can either wash by hand and hang to dry or use your washing machine and hang dry.

These reusable bags can easily save over 1000 plastic produce bags in its lifetime!


Assorted Set of 3 includes:


  • 2 Standard Size 11″ x 14″
  • 1 Large Size 14.5″ x 18.5″


$7.50 BUY NOW

Make Up Brush – Kabuki Brush

Honeybee Gardens Mini Kabuki Brush Bronzer:

Natural, sustainable bamboo handled luxury buffing brush has synthetic silky Taklon bristles, so it’s environmentally conscious and cruelty-free! 3.75 inches. Super soft and great for applying foundation, blush or blending eye color.

The extra bristle density holds minerals better than any other brush. The larger size and flat brush base make it MUCH easier to handle and work with than those little round brushes, and it’s at a price that can’t be matched.

A cosmetic necessity!

$12.99 BUY NOW

All Natural Bamboo Toothbrush & Holder

Brush with All Natural Bamboo. Set includes 4-pack of adult toothbrushes. 5 star rated by customers!

Every part of this product is plant-based: bristles, handle, wrapper, and box.

  • Soft bristles are made from a base of 62% castor bean oil (bio-based and recyclable, but not biodegradable). Bristles made in the USA.
  • The handle is made from 100% bamboo (organic and wild – no pesticides or fertilizers).
  • The wrapper around the toothbrush is plant-based and commercially compostable.
  • The box encasing the toothbrush is made from paper – no tape or glue is used.
  • Your bamboo toothbrushes can be used for just as long as plastic toothbrushes.
  • USDA Certified Biobased. Green American Certified. Vegan. BPA-Free. Natural and Non-toxic.



Set of 4 Toothbrushes $20.00 BUY NOW

Bamboo Travel Case $20.00 BUY NOW



Thinksport Stainless Steel Insulated Sport Bottle

This is the perfect Stainless Steel water bottle. It’s double-walled and vacuum-sealed stainless steel – keeps contents hot or cold for hours. Perfect for hot or cold beverages – does not sweat (for cold contents) or burn your hand (for hot contents).

Its contoured design makes the bottle easy to hold and visually distinctive from the many straight-walled bottles. And, it has a removable mesh filter that keeps ice from blocking the drinking spout and allows users to conveniently brew tea on the go.Unsurpassed testing for material safety! Thinksport products undergo rigorous chemical and biologic testing to insure they do not contain toxic chemicals. Comes in a variety of colors.

Unsurpassed testing for material safety! Thinksport products undergo rigorous chemical and biologic testing to insure they do not contain toxic chemicals. Comes in a variety of colors. Also available in 16 oz. size.

$16.99 BUY NOW

All Natural Hand Sanitizer

It’s impossible to find hand sanitizer that is all-natural and free of harmful chemicals which is why you’ll love this sanitizer by MamaSuds.

It’s free of parabens, phthalates, and triclosan. Perfect for cold and flu season.

Put one in every handbag, lunch box, and backpack. Take one to your office to help your co-workers.

Also, works as a room spray in a pinch.

This hand sanitizer is made with Aloe Vera Gel Juice that your skin will love and witch hazel to dry quickly. No more waving hands in the air. No Triclosan is needed since essential oils are used instead including lemon, tea tree, and cinnamon leaf which ward off unwanted germs.

$6.25 BUY NOW

HoneyBee Gardens Luscious Lip Gloss

Enriched with Vitamin E, cocoa butter, olive oil and shea butter, Honeybee Gardens new paraben-free lip gloss is super-moisturizing. It provides long-lasting shine without the stickiness of conventional lip glosses.

Available in 5 shades.

Honeybee Gardens is one of only 300 companies WORLDWIDE to have achieved CHAMPIONSHIP status with the Environmental Working Group for clean, healthy product formulas. This lip gloss makes wonderfully healthy lips!

The entire line is gluten-free, and a good portion of the line is vegan.


$11.99 BUY NOW

On the Go Water Bottle Filter

Water Bottle FilterThis water bottle filters water as you drink. Perfect for travel, gym, office or camping in the backcountry. Great way to reduce bottled water waste!

The activated coconut shell carbon reduces toxic chemicals, heavy metals, microscopic pathogens, chlorine, sediment, and dirt. So it’s safe to use everywhere from the backcountry to the office. Whether you’re using tap OR river water, you’ll be drinking the freshest water around.

Best of all, there’s no need to squeeze the bottle to force water up thru the filter to the straw. Also, throw it in the dishwasher to clean. The filter is good for 100 gallons of pure drinking water.
• Safely cleans tap or river water
• Micron 3 rated activated coconut shell carbon filter
• Made in the USA
• Free of BPA, phthalates, lead, leaching chemicals
• 9.5 inches tall – 25 oz capacity

$24.95 BUY NOW

Need gift ideas for men? Try our new line of all natural Men’s Products by Alluvian.


The Complete Beginners Guide to Water Filters

The perfect guide for anyone trying to wade through the process of buying a water filter. This guide has everything you need to know. Click to read more or PIN to save for later.

If you’re like most people, you want to drink clean water but aren’t sure where to start. Or, perhaps you’ve looked into all the different types of water filters and found yourself totally confused. There’s a good reason for this! The information available is complex, sometimes misleading or conflicting and there’s so much to digest. Until now.

You don’t need to become a water quality expert to choose the best water filter. We’ve put together the basics on what you need to know.

Welcome to the Complete Beginners Water Filter Guide. You’ll learn why it’s important to drink filtered water, important considerations for choosing a water filter, and our top picks in our 2016 Water Filter Guide.

In this Guide, we’ll cover the following:

Let’s start with why it’s important to drink filtered water.

Tap Water Contaminants – It’s a Long List

If you think about it, your water department has a big job. Hundreds of contaminants end up in your water supply including:

  • Agriculture pesticides & fertilizers
  • Industrial pollutants
  • Urban runoff chemicals
    • Car emissions
    • Road surfaces
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Personal Care Products
    • Flame Retardants
  • Water treatment chemicals & their byproducts

It’s an overwhelming list especially since well-respected research has linked many of these contaminants to cancer, liver, kidney and nervous system problems.

So, it’s important to understand some of the shortcomings in the system that provides your drinking water. Here are our top 5 concerns about tap water and why it’s important to use water filters.

1. EPA Standards aren’t Stringent Enough

Did you know that the EPA sets two levels for water departments?

You are probably wondering how this works.

The EPA sets two measures; one standard is enforceable while the other is not.

  • The unenforceable standard is the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG). The EPA sets the MCLG at a level where they expect no adverse health effects
  • The enforceable standard is simply called the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) – this is often set higher than the goal

Think of the MCLG as considering your health and the MCL as considering your health and the costs of removing contaminants.

As a result, your tap water may have unhealthy levels of contaminants (exceeding MCLG), but still be meeting the enforceable standards (meeting MCL).

It’s a troubling thought, isn’t it?

Your water is not meeting the EPA experts’ standards for good health because the EPA also factored in the cost of meeting those safety levels.

To get an understanding of how this works, consider arsenic standards. The EPA classifies arsenic as a known human carcinogen. Its MCLG is 0.00 meaning that to avoid any adverse health effects, water should not contain any arsenic. However, arsenic’s MCL or enforceable level is 0.01 which allows water supplies to contain arsenic and meet standards.

You’re probably not on board with drinking arsenic–didn’t think so.

2. The EPA doesn’t Regulate ALL Pollutants (Not Even Close)

The EPA does not regulate all pollutants. In fact, a 2009 study detected 316 contaminants and a whopping 202 of those contaminants had no safety standards. About 132 million people in the US had unregulated pollutants in their tap water according to the study.

Admit it. You’d rather have safety standards for more contaminants.

You’d like to think that the EPA has selected the most dangerous contaminants to regulate, but there’s a constant stream of new chemicals being developed and an understaffed/underfunded agency trying to keep up.

The EPA is only regulating 1/3 of contaminants. Does that seem like enough to you?

3. Your Water Department isn’t Perfect

It’s possible that your water department is failing on certain regulatory standards.

People make mistakes. Processes fail. Equipment malfunctions. When these mistakes occur, they can negatively affect many people.

For example, from 2004-2009, the Environmental Working Group reports that water departments serving 53 million people failed to meet the goal for Trihalomethanes, a likely carcinogen, according to the EPA.

That’s a lot of imperfection.

4. Bad Stuff Can Happen Between the Water Plant and your Sink

Your water gathers contaminants between the water plant and your house, so even if you’re convinced that your water department is doing a perfect job, your tap water can be contaminated by the pipes that lead to your house or the pipes inside your home. This is precisely what happened in Flint MI and many other cities as well. Lead leached from the pipes and contaminated the water.

Five Things You Don't Want to Hear About Tap Water

You may think that lead pipes are a thing of the past. It’s true that lead water pipes are no longer used today, but many older lead pipes are still in service. And during a repair or change in water chemistry, these pipes can leach lead into tap water.

And, it’s not just lead that could be a problem. Other contaminants can end up in your drinking water as well.

So, as your tap water travels from your water treatment plant into your house, it can pick up contaminants along the way causing unsafe levels of lead and other contaminants.

5. Fluoride Levels May Exceed Healthy Levels

Tap water contains fluoride which can cause adverse health effects. A 2006 study of Fluoride in Drinking Water sponsored by the EPA recommended lowering the MCLG due to concerns about increased bone fracture rates and enamel fluorosis in children 0-8 years old. The committee unanimously recommended that the EPA set fluoride levels lower due to strong health concerns.

The committee also recommended further study about fluoride’s impact on thyroid and brain functioning.

Unfortunately, the MCL and MCLG are still set at 4 mg/L, an unsafe level according to the committee. For a full copy of the report, click here.

Seems hard to believe, right?

A huge study conducted by experts says that the fluoride goal is too high. And, ten years later, the goal still hasn’t been reset?

What Type of Water Filter is Best for You?

Now that you’ve learned about the EPA’s two standards, the burgeoning number of new, unregulated chemicals, the fallibility of your water department, the possibility of unsafe water pipe infrastructure, and the potential of having more fluoride in your water than is healthy, what’s next?

Well, you probably want to know how to get drinking water that you can trust. This next section explains the basics of water filter systems. The last section of the Water Filter Guide provides recommendations.

Water Filter Systems Basics

Almost all drinking water filters use some form of carbon filtration while the best and most effective purifiers use more than one type of filtration media. Why would products have more than one filter type? Because different filter types are effective at removing different types of contaminants.

The most common types of media are carbon and/or activated carbon, ceramic filters, metallic alloy, carbon block resin, and reverse osmosis membranes. Each filter medium has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, carbon filters are excellent at removing a broad range of contaminants but are completely ineffective at removing contaminants like Fluoride.

Water Purifier Product Types Explained – Gravity, Faucet, Counter Top, Under Counter & Whole House

There are many types of water purifiers to choose from. Let’s start with the Point of Use (POU) filter types. The simplest POU filters are Gravity-fed Pitchers or larger dispensers that you fill manually.

Then there are Faucet Filters that attach to your water spout and Counter Top Filters with a free-standing water filter unit that sits next to your sink and attaches to the end of your faucet via hoses. Both faucet and counter top filters have a diverter valve that engages the filter when you want filtered water. All of these filters are easy DIY solutions.

The next level in terms of installation difficulty is Under Counter Filters. These filters attach to your cold water line and provide filtered water to a separate, dedicated drinking water faucet (included with your filter). Under Counter Filters come with and without Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters. The RO filters need a separate holding tank for filtered water as well as a connection to your water waste line. These systems can either be installed by a handy homeowner, or by a plumber. Keep in mind that when you install a separate water faucet, you’ll need a hole cut in your countertop. A plumber can handle this for you.

A Point of Entry (POE) or Whole House System connects directly to your incoming water line and filters all the water to your home. A Whole House Filters has a high water flow rate, so it can’t filter out as many contaminants as a POU system. You’ll need a licensed plumber to install your Whole House Filter.

If you install a Whole House System, you’ll still need drinking water filter. Read How to Select a Whole House Filter for more information on why you need two systems.

Determining Effectiveness

How do you know which products are effective? The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) with the National Science Foundation (NSF) have contaminant reduction standards for drinking water treatment units. When buying your filter, look for these NSF standards:

    • NSF Standard 42-Aesthetic Effects. This standard covers Chlorine, Taste and Odor, and Particulates.
    • NSF Standard 53-Health Effects. This standard applies to hazardous contaminants including microbiological (harmful cysts), chemical (disinfection byproducts, pesticides and herbicides, VOC’s, and MTBE’s), and particulate matter (lead, mercury, etc.).
    • NSF Standard 58-Reverse Osmosis. This standard applies only to RO systems and addresses Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and other hazardous contaminants.
    • NSF Standard 401-Emerging Compounds/Incidental Contaminants. This standard covers up to 15 contaminants found at trace levels in public drinking water. These include certain prescription drugs as well as over the counter pain medications, pesticides, and herbicides not before targeted, and some new chemical compounds used in flame retardants, plastics, and detergents. All good things to remove from your drinking water!

It is important to note that although these standards cover many contaminants and set up MINIMUM reduction requirements, a product does not have to remove ALL of the contaminants to earn NSF certification. The filter only has to reach the minimum requirement for the contaminants claimed by the manufacturer to receive certification.

You Must Read the Fine Print, Really!

To compare filters you have to look not only for the NSF certification, but you need to check each filter’s Performance Data Sheet to find (1) the number of contaminants removed, and (2) the real level of reduction achieved. So while it is true that ALL CERTIFIED products meet minimum reduction requirements, some will perform better than others at removing contaminants.

This is where we come in.

We can help you make the best choices for you and your family. We’ve already read the performance results and performed the side by side comparisons, so you don’t have to. All you need to know is that all products that are certified to an NSF standard are not created equal, so you aren’t confused by marketing claims. Our Water Filter Guide will make your decisions much easier!

Choosing the Right Filtration Product Type For You

How do you choose the right type of filter? Here’s a quick outline of the options.

Pitchers and Gravity Fed Dispensers:

These filters are not connected to your plumbing, are free-standing and portable.

  • Easy set-up and operation, no installation necessary
  • Great to use at the office, in dorm rooms or in temporary living situations


  • Only filters small amounts at a time
  • Performance varies widely among pitchers; name brand pitchers only filter a handful of contaminants. However, we did find one brand that filtered as well as an installed water filter system.

Faucet Filters:

Faucet filters attach to the end of a standard kitchen or bathroom faucet and use a diverter for filtered water.

  • Easy to install and move, good for renters
  • Low cost


  • Will not work with many specialty faucets such as pull-out sprayers
  • Limited contaminant reduction; all the faucet filters we researched had the same limited performance much like the big name water pitcher filters

Counter Top:

These filters sit on the counter next to the kitchen or bathroom sink and connect via a small hose to the faucet.

  • Easy to install and move, good for renters
  • Easiest way to install a high capability filter


  • Aesthetics may not appeal to everyone
  • Will not work with many specialty faucets such as pull-out sprayers

Under the Counter Filters:

These are plumbed-in systems that connect to your cold water line under your sink and dispense filtered water through a second small faucet rather than the main faucet. You can install yours at your main kitchen sink or at a secondary sink like a wet bar.

  • High capability filter, installs under the sink and out-of-the-way
  • Dedicated drinking water faucet


  • Requires space under the kitchen sink
  • Requires a plumber or someone with basic plumbing skills to install

Reverse Osmosis Filters:

These are plumbed-in systems that connect to your cold water line and dispense filtered water through a second small faucet rather than the main faucet. Can be located at the main kitchen sink or at a secondary sink like a wet bar. Requires more space than just an under the counter filter to accommodate a separate filtered water holding tank.

  • High degree of filtration
  • Dedicated drinking water faucet


  • Cost – more expensive than other water filter systems
  • Space requirement due to separate holding tank

Whole House

These are systems that are plumbed-in through your main water line to reduce chlorine. With the addition of a water softening component, they will also reduce barium and radium typically.

  • Filters all the water coming into your house
  • Can soften hard water


  • Requires a plumber
  • Very limited capacity to remove other contaminants so a drinking water filter solution is typically needed/required

Our 2017 Recommended Water Filter Guide

Here’s our short list of the water filters we recommend. We’ve read the third-party lab reports and researched these products.

See why this high-tech brand of water pitchers and containers from the US-based company Propur comes so highly recommended. These pitchers and container water filters are so effective, they remove fluoride, lead, and other hard to remove contaminants. Find out more about these outstanding water filters and why they remove 10-20 times more contaminants than the big brands.


Propur Water Pitcher Filter


Propur Gravity Water Filters – Available in multiple sizes

The Propur Promax, Austin Springs and WaterChef counter top water filters are excellent choices. Portable, highly effective, certified to remove 50+ contaminants. See why the Propur PromaxAustin Springs and WaterChef filters are so highly recommended.

Our favorite Counter Top Water Filter is the new Propur Promax. It uses groundbreaking filtration technology that makes this filter as effective as a four stage Reverse Osmosis Filter! There is nothing else like this available. Learn more about the Propur Promax Counter Top Filter.


Propur Promax Counter Top

Austin Springs Counter Top Excellent Value

Austin Springs Counter Top Excellent Value

 WaterChef Counter Top

WaterChef Counter Top

Propur Promax and Austin Springs under counter water filters tested the best of all the under counter filters certified. See why the Propur Promax and Austin Springs filters are an excellent choice. Looking for a good value? Austin Springs is specially-priced at $94.99, over 50% off the regular price of $199.99.

Our favorite Undercounter Water Filter is the new Propur Promax. It uses groundbreaking filtration technology that makes this filter as effective as a four stage Reverse Osmosis Filter! Plus, it’s so much smaller than a Reverse Osmosis system that you’ll still have space under your kitchen sink for your all natural cleaning products. There is nothing else like this available.

Nothing else on the market compares to this filter.  Learn more about the Propur Promax Under Counter Filter.


Propur Promax Under Counter Water Filter System

Propur Promax Under Counter Water Filter System

Austin Springs Under Counter Water Filter System

Austin Springs Under Counter Water Filter System


If you’re looking for a Reverse Osmosis & Carbon Water Filter system, Aquasana’s reverse osmosis under counter water filter is in a class by itself. No other reverse osmosis and carbon filter system has three certifications, so you can trust it’s delivering clean water to your tap. It has a 4 stage filtration process and removes fluoride and other hard to remove contaminants. And, it comes with a remineralizer to replace the minerals removed by the RO filter.

With the introduction of the new Propur Promax Under Counter water filter, you no longer need to install these Reverse Osmosis multiple stage filter!  The Propur Promax is as effective as a four-stage filter and it’s less expensive to purchase and maintain. Plus, it’s so much smaller and won’t remove the minerals from your water like a Reverse Osmosis system.

Aquasana Reverse Osmosis & Carbon Water Filter System

Aquasana Reverse Osmosis & Carbon Water Filter System

If you still have questions after reading this Water Filter Guide, contact us. We’re happy to help you select the best water filter for your needs.

The Complete Beginner's Guide to Water Filters