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10 Best Cheap Water Filters of 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Water Filter

Water FilterClean drinking water is a human necessity. When disasters happen, safe drinking water can become very difficult to find, demonstrating the importance of alternative methods of water filtration. Even when there is no emergency, water filters remove impurities and contaminants from our water that are detrimental to our health.

These days, we have a lot of options when it comes to water filters. From portable filters that fit in your pocket to under-sink systems that are permanent installations, there’s a water filter to fit every circumstance. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy testing tons of filters of every different type to find the best of each. Now, we’re going to share what we learned with you so that you don’t have to go through the same hassle.

The following 10 reviews will compare the best filters of each type. The first six are all class-leading filters that we highly recommend. You just have to decide what type of filter fits you best.


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Under-Sink Filter
Winner
Frizzlife Under Sink Frizzlife Under Sink
  • Filters down to 0.1 microns
  • 2 GPM flow rate
  • Easy to install
  • Best Water Filter Pitcher
    Second place
    ZeroWater ZP-010 ZeroWater ZP-010
  • Five stages of filtration
  • Removes 99.6% of TDS
  • Includes TDS meter built-into lid
  • Best Countertop Filter
    Third place
    APEX MR-1050 APEX MR-1050
  • Easy to install
  • Five stages of filtration
  • Adds healthy minerals to your water
  • Best for Large Capacity
    Aquaboon AB-WH20BB Aquaboon AB-WH20BB
  • Durable and resistant to chemicals
  • Fits standard 20” cartridges
  • Includes pressure gauges
  • Best Faucet Attachment
    Brita 42201 Brita 42201
  • Very quick and easy to install
  • Removes lead
  • Very easy to find replacement
  • The 10 Best Cheap Water Filters – Reviews 2021

    1. Frizzlife Under Sink Water Filter System – Best Under-Sink Filter

    Frizzlife Under Sink

    A good under-sink water filter provides you with endless quantities of clean and pure drinking water right from your kitchen tap, and the Frizzlife is one of the best. It’s very easy to install, making it simple and inexpensive to start having better water in your home today. But it didn’t include the compression fittings that would have made it even easier.

    Many filters only remove a few contaminants from your water, focused more on improving taste than improving health. But the Frizzlife lifter removes over 99% of contaminants to leave you with pure water that’s great for you. With filter pores of 0.1 microns, it can remove all kinds of impurities from your water, including heavy metals, chlorine, lead, VOCs, and many more.

    Some under-sink filters can reduce the water flow to the faucet, which hinders the normal use of the kitchen sink. Luckily, with a flow rate of two gallons per minute, this one won’t slow your sink’s water flow at all. And with filters that last for 1,600 gallons, you’ll only have to think about replacements every 1-2 years.

    Pros
    • Filters down to 0.1 microns
    • 2 GPM flow rate
    • Cartridges last 1,600 gallons
    • Removes over 99% of contaminants
    • Easy to install
    Cons
    • Doesn’t include necessary compression fittings for installation

    2. ZeroWater ZP-010 Water Filter Pitcher – Best Water Filter Pitcher

    ZeroWater ZP-010

    If you’re looking for one of the most inexpensive and simple ways to bring filtered water into your home, then a water filter pitcher is the perfect solution. Our favorite of them all is the ZeroWater ZP-010, an impressive pitcher that removes 99.6% of the total dissolved solids (TDS) from your water. This makes it the most capable water filter pitcher that we’ve seen.

    In order to strip your water of so many impurities, the ZeroWater filter pitcher employs a five-stage filter system. To prove that the water coming through this filter is vastly improved, a TDS meter is even built-into the lid so that you can regularly test your water. This will also let you know when the filter needs to be replaced. If your TDS levels aren’t low enough after filtering, then it’s time to change the filter.

    Since this pitcher removes so much from the water, it tends to take a while to filter. Noticeably slower than other pitcher filters in fact. But no other filter pitcher removes as many contaminants as the ZeroWater, and only this pitcher has a TDS meter included to verify the purity of your water.

    Pros
    • Five stages of filtration
    • Removes 99.6% of TDS
    • Includes TDS meter built-into lid
    Cons
    • Filters very slowly

    3. APEX MR-1050 Countertop Water Filter – Best Countertop Filter

    APEX MR-1050

    If you like the idea of unlimited filtered water on tap in your kitchen but you don’t want to deal with the hassle and expense of installing an under-sink system, then a countertop water filter is a great alternative. We love the ease of installation and use that a countertop filter provides, and our favorite of them all is the Apex MR-1050.

    This filter features five stages of filtration to ensure that the water you drink from this filter is safe, healthy, and delicious. To that end, the Apex filter alkalizes your water, infusing it with nourishing minerals that are good for your health, like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Those same minerals also enhance the taste of your water, which is why we were always pleased with the refreshing water from this filter.

    There are some drawbacks to countertop filters, and the Apex is no exception. It takes up a bit of sink-side counter space and it isn’t the most attractive ornament. It also makes your faucet a bit more difficult to use since there’s a hose attached to it. But this filter makes it so easy to get filtered water that we’re willing to overlook these minor flaws.

    Pros
    • Adds healthy minerals to your water for alkalinity
    • Easy to install
    • Five stages of filtration
    • All standard 10-inch replacement filters work
    Cons
    • Takes up counter space
    • The attached hose makes faucet more difficult to use

    4. Aquaboon AB-WH20BB Water Filter System – Best for Large Capacity

    Aquaboon AB-WH20BB

    A lot of filters deal with smaller volumes of water meant for serving individuals or small families with drinking water. But if you want a solution that provides your entire household with filtered water, then we suggest the Aquaboon AB-WH20BB. This large-capacity filter fits standard 20-inch cartridges, making it easy for you to add any filter you’d like. However, no cartridge is included when you purchase it, so you’ll need to get one separately.

    This filter housing has pressure gauges built-in so you can always keep an eye on the system and won’t have to install any external gauges. Everything you need for installation is included, so once you purchase a filter cartridge, you’ll be ready to have filtered water at every faucet in your home.

    Pros
    • Polypropylene construction is durable and resistant to chemicals
    • Fits standard 20” cartridges
    • Includes pressure gauges
    Cons
    • Doesn’t include a filter cartridge

    5. Brita 42201 Water Faucet Filtration System – Best Faucet Attachment

    Brita 42201

    Even if you haven’t recognized any other brands on this list, it’s likely that you know the name Brita. They’re one of the giants in the water filter world, which makes it very easy to find their filters or cartridge replacements. The Brita faucet filter system is an easy to use device that attaches directly to your sink faucet. You can bypass the filter for normal sink operation, or with the turn of a dial, you can re-direct the water through the filter.

    Once your water makes its way through the Brita filter, 60 contaminants will have been removed, including lead, chlorine, and asbestos. Your filter cartridge will keep making your water safe for about four months before it needs to be replaced.

    Our biggest complaint with the Brita faucet filter system is how big it is. It’s a bit of a nuisance on your sink. Especially if you do dishes in the sink, you’ll find that the filter gets in the way and inhibits normal sink movement. But it’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get unlimited filtered water in your home.

    Pros
    • Very quick and easy to install
    • Get unlimited filtered water at your tap
    • Removes lead
    • Very easy to find replacement cartridges
    Cons
    • Makes faucet more difficult to use

    6. Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System – Best for Backpacking

    Sawyer Products MINI

    Backpacking filters place an emphasis on portability, packability, and usability. A good filter for backpacking must be small, lightweight, easy to use, and durable enough for the backcountry. The Sawyer MINI ticks off all those boxes with ease, making it our favorite water filter for backpacking.

    This filter is tiny. It’s under six inches long, an inch in diameter, and weighs a meager two ounces. You can fit it in your pocket or in any corner of your pack. It’s also very versatile, offering many different filtration methods with a single device. You can use it in line with a gravity system or hydration pack. Or, you can use it as a straw and drink straight from your water source, or our favorite, screw it onto a water bottle.

    With a filter capacity of 100,000 gallons, you won’t need to think about replacing this filter ever. It’s protected by Sawyer’s lifetime guarantee, so if anything does happen, you’ll be covered. Other filters, such as the MINI’s big brother, the Squeeze, have higher rates of flow, but the MINI is more compact and versatile by a mile. And the MINI is very affordable, which is something we always appreciate!

    Pros
    • Ultra-lightweight – just 2 ounces
    • Compact and portable
    • 100,000-gallon filter capacity
    • Very versatile usage
    • Affordably priced
    Cons
    • Doesn’t have the best flow rate

    7. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

    LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

    The LifeStraw was one of the original personal water filters, and it’s still one of the most popular. And for good reason! This is a great filter that’s especially suited for emergencies and disasters. It has no shelf life or expiration date, meaning it can be stored indefinitely. Throw it in a preparedness kit and it will still be waiting in ten years, ready to work.

    One great thing about the LifeStraw is that it has no moving parts. There’s nothing to break on this filter, making it durable enough to take in unforgiving environments. It’s also very affordable, so you could keep a spare life filter and still spend less on both than a single filter from many other reputable brands.

    Even though the LifeStraw is great in many respects, it’s far from perfect. The filter lifespan of just 1,000 gallons can’t compete with the 100,000-gallon capacity of the Sawyer filters. Likewise, the LifeStraw is outmatched when it comes to versatility. It can only be used one way, which is to drink directly from your water source using the LifeStraw as a straw.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • No shelf life or expiration date
    • No moving parts
    Cons
    • Filter life of 1,000 gallons
    • Limited versatility

    8. Whirlpool 10383251 Refrigerator Water Filter

    Whirlpool 10383251

    If you have a Whirlpool refrigerator at home, then you may already have a great source of filtered drinking water. When it’s time to replace the built-in filter, the EveryDrop filter is a great choice to swap-in. In total, it reduces 28 contaminants, including 99% of lead, leaving you with great tasting water that’s healthier than straight from the tap.

    With a six-month filter life, this cartridge shouldn’t need to be replaced very often, which is great because they’re pricey cartridges. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to last for six months in most households since it’s dependent on how many contaminants are present in your water.

    Pros
    • Removes 99% of lead
    • Reduces 28 total contaminants
    • Six-month filter life
    Cons
    • Kind of expensive
    • Doesn’t tend to last the full six months

    9. Camco 40043 TastePure RV/Marine Water Filter

    Camco 40043

    Whether you live an alternative lifestyle in your RV full-time or you just use it for weekend excursions, the Camco TastePure filter is a simple way to bring filtered water along with you, wherever you go. It’s even great for boats. We liked how easy it is to install, with the included hose protector preventing kinking, which is common with in-line filters.

    You’ll be replacing this filter every three months. Luckily, it’s affordably priced, so you won’t be going broke keeping filtered water in your RV. But this filter isn’t as thorough as many of the other options we’ve tested. With large filter pores of 20 microns, it’s not removing the smallest particles. However, it does remove quite a few contaminants, including lead, mercury, mold, chlorine, fungus, heavy metals, and even bacteria.

    Pros
    • Affordably priced
    • Easy to install
    • Hose protector minimizes kinking
    Cons
    • Only lasts for three months
    • Filters down to 20 microns

    10. PUR FM2500V Classic Faucet Mount Filter

    PUR FM2500V

    Nearly as popular as the Brita filters, the PUR Classic Faucet Mount Filter attaches right to your kitchen faucet, making filtered water convenient and quick. It filters out 70 total contaminants. Each filter cartridge will last for about two to three months. When it’s time to replace a cartridge, they’re easy to find and inexpensive, though Brita beats PUR in both of those departments.

    This faucet filter is very easy to install. Screw the included faucet attachment onto the end of your sink’s faucet, then press the filter onto it. Filter replacements are just as easy. But the filter is pretty bulky and takes up a lot of your sink space. If you use your sink for more than just water, you’ll likely find that the PUR filter gets in the way of many normal activities.

    Pros
    • Easy to install
    • Removes over 70 contaminants
    Cons
    • Big and bulky
    • Makes it difficult to use your faucet
    • Only lasts for 2-3 months

    Divider 3

    Buyer’s Guide

    Now that all these filters are fresh in your mind, let’s discuss how you pick one. While they all filter water, they do so in drastically different ways, making each one particularly suited to a certain situation. So, how do you pick which filter is right for you? Once you read our short buyer’s guide, you’ll know exactly how to make the right choice.

    Where Will You Use Your Filter?

    One of the first considerations to make is where you plan to use your filter. For home use, countertop filters, under-sink filters, and faucet filters are great options that can provide nearlyunlimited clean water on tap.

    On the other hand, if you want to take your filter with you to get clean water on the go, then you’ll want a smaller, more portable filter. In that case, a backpacking filter is a better bet since they tend to be compact and lightweight. Plus, many of them can be used in multiple ways, giving you options like drinking from a water bottle or hydration bladder.

    How Many People Will be Drinking From Your Filter?

    Do you live by yourself? If you’re the only person drinking from your filter, then a solution like a pitcher filter is perfect. But with a whole family of people, maybe a 10-cup capacity isn’t enough.

    For an entire family, a faucet filter, countertop filter, or under-sink filter can provide a lot more water to meet the demands of a larger household.

    Hiking Water Filter

    What Does the Filter Remove?

    While there are some contaminants that are found in most of our tap water, other impurities will be unique to each location. Because of this, you may not have the same filtration needs as someone else. But filters also differ in what they remove. If you have high levels of lead in your tap water but choose a filter that doesn’t remove lead, then it won’t help with your specific problem. Your filter needs to be matched to the contaminants present in your water.

    Divider 4

    Conclusion

    With so many different filter options available, it can be difficult to narrow the choices down to one. Hopefully, after reading our reviews and buyer’s guide, you have a better idea of what water filter system may fit you or your household the best. We’ve covered the best in each category, so you have plenty of options.

    The Frizzlife was our favorite under-sink system with a two GPM flow rate and 1,600-gallon filter lifespan. Our favorite faucet filter was the Brita 42201 that installs easily and has cheap replacement filters you can find anywhere. In the backcountry, the filter we trust is the compact Sawyer MINI that weighs just two ounces and has a lifespan of 100,000 gallons.

    With a built-in TDS meter and a filter cartridge that removes 99.6% of TDS from your water, the ZeroWater pitcher was our top pick filter pitcher. If you want to supply your whole home with filtered water, then we suggest the Aquaboon AB-WH20-BB that fits standard 20-inch filter cartridges and has pressure gauges built-in.

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