Water filter Finder: What to look for when choosing your next water filter

We’ll help you compare water filters so you can enjoy better-tasting water at home.

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Best Water Filter

Best Rated Water Filter Brand: Pure Water System

The best-rated brand for cleaning and maintenance, a water filter from Pure Water System was recommended by 98% of Aussies.

Key facts about water filters:

  • If you don't like the taste of the water that comes out of your taps at home, or if you're worried about its quality, a water filter can help.
  • By removing contaminants from your drinking water, a water filtration system can help improve the quality and taste of water.
  • There are several factors to consider when choosing a water filter including the type of filter and the capacity.
  • Prices can range anywhere from $20 for a basic filter jug to several-hundred dollars for an under-sink filter.

What is a water filter?

Water filters remove dirt, sand and other impurities from water. However, the way they work and the impurities they remove can vary depending on the type of filter medium you choose.

For example, many filters use a method known as adsorption. This typically involves the use of an activated carbon filter to remove contaminants that stick to the carbon's pores. According to the CDC in the US, activated carbon filters are effective at removing metals such as lead.

Ion exchange water filters remove minerals from hard water to soften it, while distillers boil water to kill bacteria and eliminate other contaminants.

Then there are reverse-osmosis filters, which pass water through a semipermeable membrane and through filters to remove a wide range of contaminants. However, this process produces a large amount of wastewater.

The right filtration method for you will vary depending on what impurities or contaminants you want to remove from your water.

What types are available?

If you want to start filtering your drinking water, there are a few different filtration options available.

Water filter jugs and counter-top filters

The simplest (and often the cheapest upfront) option is to buy a water filter jug. These don't require any installation – just fill the jug up from the tap and store it in your fridge – and it's easy to change the filter when needed. However, you will need to contend with the ongoing cost of filter replacements.

If you'd like to filter larger quantities of water at a time, you may opt for a counter-top urn. This is another convenient option as it doesn't require any plumbing work, but it will take up precious bench space in your kitchen.

On-tap filters

Your next option is to buy a water filter that can be mounted to your tap. These small and convenient filters filter the water as it runs through your faucet, and they're easy and inexpensive to fit. You can also switch to unfiltered water whenever you want.

However, you'll need to ensure that one of these filters will fit properly on your tap, while you'll also have to put up with a slower flow of water when you choose filtered.

Under-sink filters

The most expensive option is to install an under-sink water filter. This requires plumbing work and will take up cupboard space under your sink, but it's also a long-term solution capable of filtering large quantities of water. If you need to use a lot of filtered water, this is an option well worth considering.

Depending on the model you choose, you may replace your existing tap or require the installation of a separate tap for filtered water. Some models can also produce chilled and sparkling water for drinking.

How to compare water filters

It's a good idea to compare a range of products before you buy. This will ensure that you choose the best water filter for your needs.

Make sure you consider the following factors when comparing your options.

Type of filter

The first thing you need to do is decide on the type of filter you want and the filtration method. To do this, you’ll need to consider factors such as bench and cupboard space in your kitchen, what impurities or contaminants you want to remove from your tap water, and your budget.

Size and available space

If you're simply looking to have some chilled, filtered water available throughout the day, a jug filter might be the easiest solution. If you need to filter large amounts of water, you may decide that an under-sink model is the best choice. You'll also need to consider the dimensions of any filter you're considering and the available bench or under-sink space.

Certification

Make sure any water filter you choose meets the relevant Australian standard. AS/NZS4348 covers several common contaminants, while you can find public health standards for a range of other filters from NSF International.

Pore size

This is the size of the holes in a filter that water passes through, measured in microns. However, be sure to check whether the pore size measurement provided is "absolute" or "nominal/mean", as the latter only refers to the filter's average pore size.

Flow rate

Check the filter system's flow rate to get an idea of how much filtered water it can provide in litres per minute.

Cartridge replacement

If the water filter you choose features replaceable cartridges, check how often those cartridges need to be replaced and how much they cost.

Warranty

Check the length of the manufacturer’s warranty and exactly what it covers.

Cost

Jug and on-tap water filters are the cheapest options, with entry-level jugs available for around $20. Desktop models generally sit in the $50-$350 price range, while under-sink systems can cost anywhere from $250 to more than $1,000.

4 things to consider

There are a few other factors you should consider before buying a water filter:

  1. Do you really need it? Tap water in Australia is generally perfectly safe to drink. For more information on the work that goes into ensuring the quality of drinking water, check out the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. But if you're on a private water supply, or you're worried about the taste or additives of tap water, you may still decide that a water filter is the right choice for you.
  2. Issues with bottled water. If you're unhappy with the taste or quality of tap water, you might consider drinking bottled water whenever possible. However, not only is this prohibitively expensive, there's also the environmental impact to consider. So if you're looking to improve the quality of the water you drink, it's well worth considering a water filter instead of relying on bottled water.
  3. Plumbing work. If the filter you choose needs to be plumbed in, make sure the work is carried out by a licensed plumber. Otherwise, you not only run the risk of the filter not functioning properly but also voiding your warranty.
  4. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. To ensure that your filter is as effective as possible, follow the manufacturer's instructions closely. This includes replacing filter cartridges when recommended and staying on top of any regular servicing tasks.

If you're ready to start shopping for water filters, here's where to buy water filters online in Australia.

Best rated water filter brand award breakdown

Overall rating Value for money Cleaning & maintenance Design Water Taste & Appearance
AlkaWay 4.28 4.31 4.19 4.39 4.17
Aquaport 4.14 4.36 4.14 4.26 4.19
Bobble 4.03 4.09 4.09 4.26 4.31
BRITA 4.34 4.02 4.10 4.10 4.30
Puratap 4.27 4.17 4.13 4.13 4.23
Pure Water Systems 4.43 4.02 4.24 4.24 4.29
Puretec 4.18 4.28 4.15 4.15 4.31
Stefani 4.29 4.10 4.17 4.17 4.32
Other 4.44 4.60 4.48 4.44 4.56
Data: Finder Retail Brand Survey, 2020, Kantar. Metric out of 5 stars unless indicated. Methodology and more information. Kantar logo

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