8 Best Carbon Water Filters of 2023 – Reviews & Guide
Have you ever moved into a new house and thought the water tasted funny? Tap water can contain unwanted substances such as chlorine, sediment, VOCs, and more. All of these can ruin the taste and smell of your drinking water. So, what’s the solution?
Activated carbon water filters are great at removing foul flavors and odors from water. They’re a natural way to remove contaminants from your water without removing the necessary minerals.
We wanted to know which carbon water filters would give us the best drinking experience, which were the best value, and which weren’t worth trying. To that end, we tested many carbon filters and took meticulous notes. We’ve compiled the information into the following eight reviews so that hopefully, you won’t have to try out as many to find the right one for you.
A Quick Glance at Our Favorites in 2023:
|Best Overall||Frizzlife Under Sink Carbon Water Filter||
|Best Value||Omnipure Inline Carbon Water Filter||
|Premium Choice||Aquasana Whole House Carbon Water Filter||
|iSpring 3-Stage Carbon Under-Sink Water Filters||
|Camco TastePure RV Carbon Water-Filter||
The 8 Best Carbon Water Filters:
1. Frizzlife Under Sink Carbon Water Filter – Best Overall
After testing all the carbon water filters, the Frizzlife MK99 under-sink water filter was our favorite and best overall choice. It has a two-stage filter system that removes the standard sediment, chlorine, and VOCs but also eliminates lead, heavy metals, and more. The water filtered through the Frizzlife tasted refreshing and pure every time.
One thing we liked about the Frizzlife was that connecting to our existing sink system was easy. No new faucets were needed, and no countertop space was lost. It took about 15 minutes to install the filter and start using it. There’s even a built-in shutoff valve to eliminate the need to turn off the water when you replace the filter cartridge after 1,600 gallons.
Though the installation was simple and quick, the plastic wrenches were useless, and we had to use our own. We expected a decrease in water output from the sink this filter was installed on, but with a flow rate of two gallons per minute, we didn’t notice any decrease in flow with the Frizzlife.
2. Omnipure Inline Carbon Water Filter – Best Value
Combining effective carbon filtration with a low cost and simple operation, the Omnipure Inline Carbon Water Filter is one of the most affordable ways to have endless filtered water on tap. Despite its low price, it provides clean water that tastes and smells much better than the water from our unfiltered faucets.
The Omnipure filter connects with 3/8-inch quick-connect fittings; it takes little time to install and is easy to replace when needed. But all the cold water from your sink will be filtered through the Omnipure, which can be a nuisance since it has a very low flow rate of just 0.5 gallons per minute. However, it has a very respectable lifespan of a year or 1,000 gallons. With a low price and replacements only needed annually, the Omnipure is the best carbon water filter for the money.
3. Aquasana Whole House Carbon Water Filter – Premium Choice
Many people use small water filtration systems because of their affordability. But if you want a whole-house solution to provide you with endless filtered water and you want it in a low-maintenance package, the Aquasana EQ-600 is for you. This Whole-house water filter system has a lifespan of 6 years or 600,000 gallons, making it one of the longest-lasting filters we’ve ever seen.
While the primary filter lasts 6 years, the pre and post-filters will still need to be replaced every 3 months to maintain the best flow rate. However, aside from replacing these filters, the EQ-600 requires no maintenance.
Since it’s meant to supply your entire home with water, the Aquasana filter has a high flow rate of 7 gallons per minute. For us, this was plenty. The convenience of having high-quality filtered water from all our faucets was incredible. We also appreciated the 6-year warranty, which is unique for such a pricey investment.
4. iSpring 3-Stage Carbon Under-Sink Water Filters
One issue with many in-line water filters is that they drastically reduce water pressure and flow rates to the faucet. The iSpring US31 under-sink water filter fixes this issue by utilizing a dedicated faucet just for filtered drinking water. However, you’ll be sacrificing some under-sink space since this sizeable system has a larger footprint than most in-line filters.
The US31 has three stages of filtration to remove lead, arsenic, heavy metals, bacteria, and parasites. The filters will last for 6-12 months before you need to replace them, depending on how much water you consume and how bad your water is to begin with.
We enjoyed the crisp and clean water produced by the iSpring filter, but you’ll be paying a premium for the convenience of that second faucet that provides filtered water on tap. We think there are better choices for the money, but the iSpring is still a great filter overall.
5. Camco TastePure RV Carbon Water-Filter
It’s hard to beat the convenience of having filtered water flowing through your kitchen faucet. The Camco 40043 TastePure filter makes that convenience accessible to everyone at an affordable price. With this filter, you’re not limited to full-size kitchens and sinks; you can install it in your RV or camper.
One problem with in-line water filters that aren’t permanently mounted is that their weight hangs from the waterline. This can cause the line to kink, reducing or even halting water flow. However, the Camco TastePure remedies this problem by including a hose protector attachment that prevents kinks and keeps your water flowing at full blast.
The Camco is easy to install and even easier to replace after installing the first one. You’ll need to replace it every 3 months to keep your water fresh. Unfortunately, it only removes particles down to 20 microns in size, so it’s not the most thorough carbon filter we’ve tested.
6. iSpring WGB21B Whole House Water Filtration System
If one faucet of filtered water isn’t enough for you, the iSpring WGB21B Whole House Water Filtration System may be more your size. It provides up to 15 gallons per minute of filtered water to every faucet in your home. For a family of four, the filter cartridges will last approximately a year between replacements. That’s a filter life of 50,000 gallons.
You’ll notice that the Spring WGB21B is one of the more expensive carbon water filtration systems on our list. It’s not surprising since it has the highest flow rates and one of the best lifespans. But we think it’s a bit overpriced compared to some other viable options. The cost will increase even more if you hire a professional to install it, which is very likely with this unit since it’s much harder to install than the other carbon filters on our list.
7. Lake Industries Countertop Water Filter (Carbon)
If you like the idea of a dedicated water faucet but don’t want to install a bulky and expensive under-sink filtration system, a countertop water filter is a great choice. The Lake Industries countertop water filter sits beside your sink and easily attaches to your sink faucet. You can install it in a few minutes without skills or experience.
While we love the ease of installing this filter, it takes up a lot of sink-side counter space. Plus, the way the hose attaches to your faucet isn’t very pretty, and it can make your faucet much less usable.
The Lake Industries filter is one of the more affordable ways to get unlimited filtered water at your kitchen sink. However, you’ll be replacing the filter cartridges more often with this unit than with others. The filters last for just 1,000 gallons. That’s not terrible, but it doesn’t compare to the 600,000-gallon lifespan of the Aquasana in our third position.
8. APEX EXPRT MR-2050 Carbon Countertop Water Filter
If you like the idea of a countertop water filter, then the APEX EXPRT takes it a step further with extra stages of filtration. Plus, it even boosts the alkalinity of your water. But keep in mind that raising the alkalinity of your water means that it’s also raising the total dissolved solids of your water by adding minerals.
Like all countertop filters, the EXPRT is simple to install. It sits beside your sink, and the hose attaches to your faucet. However, it’s a big eyesore that takes up too much counter space. The hose is also unattractive, and it even makes the faucet less usable.
We like alkaline water filters, but the APEX EXPRT is too expensive for what you get. It’s one of the more expensive filters we tested, but the water it produced wasn’t noticeably better than the water from any of the other filters on this list.
Buyer’s Guide – Finding the Best Carbon Water Filter
There are many types of water filters on the market today. Carbon water filters are a very popular type used in many households. They’re affordable and easy to find, but do you know what they remove from your water? Before buying a carbon water filter, you’ll want to make sure it’s the best choice, which means you must know what it does. Let’s take a quick look at what carbon filters do and don’t remove so you can decide if they’ll work in your home.
What Do Carbon Filters Remove?
- Sediment – Most carbon filtration systems have a filtering size of 5–20 microns. Any dirt, sand, pebbles, metal fragments, or other particles in your water will be removed from your water.
- Chlorine – Chlorine is used in water treatment, so it’s in all our tap water. But chlorine leaves behind strong odors and flavors. Luckily, carbon filters can remove 97%-99% of chlorine.
- VOCs – Volatile organic compounds are contaminants dissolved in our water, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and petroleum products. Naturally, you don’t want to drink these, which is why we use carbon filters to remove them.
- Tastes – Carbon filters are great for removing unpleasant or foul tastes from the water, such as chlorine. After being filtered through carbon, water tastes crisp and clean.
- Odors – If your water smells bad and you don’t want to drink it, carbon filters can help. They do a great job of removing odors from your water and making it smell much better.
- Pesticides and Herbicides – Pesticides and herbicides are used heavily in agriculture, so the runoff ends up in our water. Activated carbon is the only effective treatment for removing these unwanted and unhealthy substances that make their way into our drinking water.
What Don’t Carbon Filters Remove?
- Bacteria – Some carbon filters may block bacteria because of how tightly-sized their filter pores are, but overall, carbon isn’t an effective filter for living organisms like bacteria, cysts, and protozoa.
- Viruses – Few filters remove viruses from your water, and carbon filters aren’t one of them. If you want to drink water that may have viruses present, you’ll need a specialty filter instead.
- Minerals – Carbon is a mineral, and it’s not good at removing other minerals from your water. Salt, magnesium, potassium, and other minerals will be left behind, even after being filtered through activated carbon.
- Fluoride – Few filters remove fluoride from your water. Carbon filters aren’t on the shortlist, so you’ll need a specialty filter to remove fluoride.
- TDS – Since minerals and salts are dissolved solids and add to the total TDS in your water, carbon filters don’t effectively reduce total dissolved solids.
We all want drinking water that smells and tastes great and is clean and safe. Since carbon water filters are one of the best ways to achieve this, we tested as many as possible. Out of them all, our pick for the best carbon water filter was the Frizzlife MK99 Under-Sink Water Filter. It was quick and easy to install and has a built-in shutoff valve for easy filter replacement. We also liked the 2 gallons-per-minute flow rate and impressive 1,600-gallon filter lifespan.
For a dirt-cheap alternative, we suggest the Omnipure K23330KK Inline Carbon Water Filter. It’s simple to hook up with 3/8-inch quick-connect fittings and must only be replaced once a year. But if you want to provide your entire home with clean drinking water, we recommend the Aquasana EQ-600 Whole House Water Filter System. With a 600,000-gallon lifespan, a 6-year warranty, and almost no maintenance required, you can practically forget about it once you’ve installed it.
- You might also like: 8 Best Inline Water Filters – Reviews & Top Picks