Whole house water filter system is one of the most effective water filtering solution currently available on the market. It not only produce clean and healthy water but it’s more environmentally friendly compared to other filtering systems.
The only challenge when it comes to shopping for this water filter system is identifying the best ones.
The market is flooded with all kinds of models and spotting the subtle difference between them can be a bit confusing.
In this article, we take a look at some of the top models currently available on the market and explain what each of them has to offer. We also present a comprehensive guide of things you should keep an eye on when making your selection.
If you are planning to get a whole house water filter system, we are confident that once you are done reading the comprehensive guide and our reviews, you will be in a better position to make a more informed decision and pick the best unit that suits your needs.
Our Top 6 Best Whole House Water Filter Systems
Culligan is a well-known brand with a good reputation for manufacturing quality water purification systems. Their Culligan WH-HD200-C whole house water filtration system does not disappoint either.
It’s really well built and extremely versatile in its usage.
One of the main things to like about it is its versatile design that makes it highly effective in getting rid of sediments and other contaminants.
It supports up to five different Culligan’s filter cartridges which allow you to eliminate all types of sediments available in the water.
The unit default CP5-BBS filter is 5 microns in size and is quite efficient on its own. It effectively removes the sediments present in the water from dirt to course sand to regular sand to much finer sediments like fine sand and silt.
Aside from the sediments, the Culligan serves as a softener. It clears scale and other salt residues that settle in the water. This means no clogged or blocked internal pipes.
The unit is even compatible with the Culligan’s granular activated carbon cartridge. Therefore, it’s not just sediments and contaminants. You can as well get rid of chlorine and odor from the water.
Another cool thing about this unit is that you don’t have to turn off the water supply in the whole house to replace the filter. The built-in bypass makes this easy. All it takes is putting the valve in bypass position, then you push the pressure relief button and open the housing. It makes maintaining the unit much easier.
The setup operates on battery which is a big plus as it means it will continue to function properly even when there is no electricity.
Most models depend on electricity, so to have rechargeable batteries is a great advantage. You will have continuous supply of pure water during power cuts and you can even use it areas where electricity isn’t available.
For your convenience, there’s a built-in timer within its setup to let you know how much power is remaining. So, no unwanted surprises plus the unit also has a filter life indicator to keep you aware of the state of the cartridge.
It makes timely replacements much easier.
The CP5-BBS filter has a capacity of 20,000 gallon which isn’t huge but is decent enough.
The setup consists of larger inlet and outlet connectors. The ports are 1-inch thick hence it will deliver plenty of water flow as is often required in larger homes.
With the help of the connectors and some DIY skills, assembling this system won’t give you any trouble. It’s pretty easy, you won’t need a plumber.
The only setback is that the bypass valve might be a little hard to turn and you easily shred the seal should you use a housing wrench for leverage.
- Very effective at removing all types of sediment
- Compatible with up to five different filter cartridges
- Clear housing allows to see the filter at work
- Complies with ANSI standard
- Easy to install and to maintain with the built-in bypass valve
- Seals can break when subject to too much pressure
- The filters are not included, you must purchase them separately
The Culligan WH-HD200-C is an efficient and reliable water filtration system, especially for small to medium houses. It has a strong rigid body and its versatile design allows you to utilize different filters.
If you are on a tight budget but still want something that’s durable and capable of keeping your water clean at all times, then this is an excellent option to consider.
Aquasana EQ-1000-AMZN Premium Rhino
The Aquasana EQ-1000 is no doubt a premium whole house water filtration system. If you are looking for a complete, well-rounded system that can solve all possible problem with your water, this is it.
One of the top highlight of this model, is the strong, long lasting filtering cylinder. The main filter has a whopping 1 million gallons filtering capacity. This is arguably one of the best capacity you can find out there. It can comfortably last for 10 years before you can think of changing it.
The system utilizes a three stage filtration process which ensures that the water entering your house is thoroughly filtered. The first stage is a 5 micron pre-filter which gets rid of all particles and sediments that are above 5 micron including dirt, rust and microscopic particulates.
The main filter in stage two is a combination of copper-zinc oxidation media with crushed mineral stones. Together, they help to remove water-soluble heavy metals and other contaminants like pesticides, herbicides, algae and even bacteria.
The filter also help reduce chlorine and acts too like an alkaline filter to ensure the pH of the water is balanced. This means you get water that’s alkaline which is healthier for the body than the low pH, acidic water.
Stage three is the post-filter which is a 0.35 micron carbon filter. A filter with such pore size is quite an impressive addition to a whole house filtration system. It makes a huge difference to the quality of water you get as it further help remove organic particles as well as microscopic cysts.
Carbon filter is also effective at absorbing chlorine from water and as such it will help cut down even more chlorine in water. Together with the main filter, the system will remove up to 97% of chlorine in the water that enters your household.
The unit works as a water softener as well and it’s salt-free. It will help remove salt residues that tend to build up in most internal pipes of filtration systems. It’s much better than softeners that use salt since they tend to add some salty taste to the water.
The filtration process ends with a UV sterilight filtration stage and this is another very useful addition as it brings the water to a higher level of safety. It’s a stage that helps kill up to 99.99% of harmful pathogens that might be in the water, so you are guaranteed total protection from viruses and bacteria.
The system is designed to last 10 years or more depending on the amount of water you consume in your house. If you have a larger family, then the lifespan will be altered accordingly.
One advantage though is that it comes with full installation kit, so you wouldn’t have to worry about leaks and faulty leaks. However, you might need a professional plumber to handle the installation as it can get quite messy if you don’t know what you are doing.
The system requires no back-flushing, so no worrying about cleaning it either and the only maintenance needed would probably replacing the pre-filter and post-filter. They have a lifespan of 36 to 12 months hence they will need to be replaced once in a while.
The only downside with the Aquasana EQ-1000 is that it has a flow rate of 7 gpm. That’s a bit low and may not be sufficient if you have a large house.
- Effective, well-rounded filtration system
- Has no back flushing hence reduces water wastage
- Very effective in removing chlorine as well as other chemicals
- Kills germ, bacteria and other microorganisms
- Long filter life
- You may need a professional plumber to assist you with the installation
The quality and efficiency of the filtration system of this Aquasana unit is very impressive. It will clear all the harmful contaminants from the water and filter out almost all chlorine. In short it will deliver a highly purified water compared to the other units.
For those looking for a comprehensive system that can take of any kind of contaminant in the water, then this is an option you might want to consider.
iSpring WGB21B 2-Stage
In the third position we have the iSpring WGB21B and this is another effective solution for dealing with home water contamination. Like the Aquasana EQ-1000, this iSpring model utilizes more than one water filter to tackle a wide range of common water problems.
The unit has a very capable 2 stage system that offers a strong and effective filtration. In the first stage, the system filters out all the contaminants that are larger than 5 microns. Dirt, sediments and all other large sized particles are completely removed from the water.
The system achieves its maximum filtration in the second stage where using the carbon block filter, the water is further filtered out to remove finer sediments, rust, pesticides, herbicides, other contaminants and even chlorine.
The system may not be as effective as the three stage system of the Aquasana EQ-1000 above in eliminating chlorine and killing some microorganisms, but you can remove up to 95% of water contaminants with it compared to other normal filters.
Even much better, it uses 1-inch input and output ports that allow as much as 15 gallons of water per minute to pass through the system. You won’t notice any drop in water pressure once you install it.
However, it doesn’t soften the water which means expect stains and salt build ups in your utensils and internal pipes respectively. You can solve this though by installing a water softener first, then the filter system. You will achieve the best possible results.
- The filtration system is quite effective
- Offers slightly better water pressure than other high-end models
- Requires minimum maintenance as the filters last up to one year
- Installation is fairly easy if you are a hands on person
- The filters comply with the NSF standards
- Does not soften the water
- Need to use Teflon tape or else the connection might leak
The iSpring WGB21B provides enough water pressure that’s ideal for larger household and on top of that, the filter system is quite effective and easy to maintain. It’s a perfect choice especially if you already have a water softener installed.
Express Water WH300SCKS
For anyone specifically looking for a 3-stage filtration system, the Express Water WH300SCKS is a great alternative to the Aquasana EQ-1000 model above. Like its competitor, it offers a comprehensive solution to water contamination in one single unit.
The system uses three different filters to target and remove specific contaminants from the water supply and to ensure a more complete purification process. The first stage consists of a sediment filter which eliminates coarse damaging contaminants such as dirt, rust and sand.
The filter has 4 distinct layers capable of removing contaminants down to 5 microns with the outer layers catching the coarsest contaminants while inner layers deal with finer sediments and particles.
The second phase consists of a Kinetic Degradation Fluxion filter which further captures heavy metals contaminants as well as dirt and other suspended particles. It also removes chemical contaminants including VOCs.
The final stage completes the filtration process and it’s where all the chlorine, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and Total Organic Carbon (TOC) are removed using a granular activated carbon filter to ensure that the water tastes good and is drinkable.
Another thing that sets this unit apart is the pressure gauge and the pressure release button that it comes with. They make it easier to use and monitor the system so that you are aware of when the filters need replacement.
The whole system is a heavy duty construction made from quality food-grade PCE and ABS plastic, so as far as durability is concerned, you are not going to worry that much. You will have no problem when it comes installation and maintenance is also quite easy due to its user-friendly design.
- Offers a much more comprehensive filtration capability
- Heavy-duty, durable construction
- Water pressure is high ideal for large houses
- Stainless steel housing for easier filter changes
- Installation and maintenance is fairly easy
- No real installation “instructions” provided other than just a flyer containing some basics
The Express Water WH300SCKS whole house filtration system provides solution to a wide variety of water problems and once you install it, you are definitely going to appreciate the results and performance.
If the Aquasana EQ-1000 model didn’t win you over, then this might be a nice alternative.
3M Aqua-Pure AP903
The 3M Aqua-Pure AP903 is a simple, compact unit that’s more than capable of clearing contaminants from the water and leaving it looking, smelling and tasting great. This is an ideal choice for anyone looking for a basic filtration unit that doesn’t have much frills but can get the job done very well.
Its simple design doesn’t really mean inferiority in function. It uses a carbon filter that will effectively remove any dirt, dusts and sediments that are as small as 5 microns.
As the water passes through the system, the carbon filter will also remove chlorine and any other funky materials. Therefore, it will provide adequate protection against most contaminants and as well get rid of the unpleasant tastes and odors from the water.
Huge flow rate is also one of the advantages you will enjoy when using this 3M Aqua-Pure system. It has 1-inch inlet and outlet ports which are capable of providing at most 20 gallons of water per minute.
You won’t experience a drop in the water pressure with such a huge flow rate even when using multiple faucets at the same time. It’s an ideal rate for larger homes. Plus the filter has capacity of 100, 000 gallons which means it will take one whole year before you can replace it.
Considering that it only has a carbon filter, you will need to install a sediment filter to get rid of bigger sediments. This means additional costs but it go a long way it protecting the mini pores of the carbon filter from clogging hence help prolong its life.
Replacing the filters is also a piece of cake thanks to its simple design and quick change cartridges. All you need to do is to twist them off, get new ones and twist them in their place, it’s as simple as that. The whole process won’t take more than 5 minutes. No tools needed and it’s virtually spill-free.
You will however need some basic plumbing/DIY skills to install it, otherwise you may have to seek the services of a professional to avoid damaging the unit and having to replace it completely.
- Great filter that can effectively remove sediments and chlorine
- Delivers high water pressure throughout
- The filter has a great lifespan and changing it is quite easy
- You can use fit for both city and well water
- All the materials used are FDA CFR-21 compliant
- May require a professional or some plumbing skills to install
- Should be combined with a pre-filter and water softener for best results
Taking into account that, it’s not capable of catching impurities that are smaller than 5 microns, the 3M’s AP903 is not the most comprehensive filter on this list. Still though, it’s an ideal solution if you are dealing with fairly clean water and you need something that can trap most common sediments and reduce chlorine.
Home Master HMF3SDGFEC
Closing our top 6 list is another three stage, the Home Master HMF3SDGFEC. The level of filtration it offers is amongst the best in our reviews and it’s only topped by the Aquasana EQ-1000 and the Express Water WH300SCKS.
It’s an effective all-around unit and like its competitor, each stage of filtration performs a specific task. The first stage is made up of a multi-gradient depth sediment filter consisting of four layers of filtration.
There is the 25 micron surface, a 10 micron layer, a 5 micron layer and finally a 1 micron inner core. In other words, chances of any filter getting clogged or damaged are very minimal because it will keep out sediments that are as small as 1 micron.
This means that not even bacteria will be able to pass through. It delivers a much finer filtration and it’s actually one the best sediment filters out there.
In the second stage it’s an iron reduction filter which helps cut down the amount of iron, manganese and sulphur in water to as much as 3 ppm combined. Therefore, it will greatly help reduce chances of iron accumulation that might damage your internal pipes as well as appliances.
The activated coconut shell carbon filter in the third stage takes care of chlorine and other chemical contaminants present in the water. It will trap herbicides, pesticides and even heavy metals clearing any smell or weird taste in the water.
The only thing missing aside from all these is a UV light purifier and softener. But even without them, this is a great all-around unit and will catch all kind of sediment and microorganisms.
What’s more, the system will remove the contaminants with drawing down water pressure. The massive filter housing has 1-inch ports which are meant to deliver up to 15 –gallons of water per minute. You will enjoy a strong water pressure throughout the operation of the filter.
In terms of capacity, it can support 100,000 gallons in its lifetime, which is fairly decent as it will last a whole year or even two for a household of 4 people. Installation on the other hand might be a little bit tricky since no tools are provided. You will probably have to hire a specialist to do it.
- An efficient all-around filtration process
- Will get rid of almost all chemicals, chlorine and sediments
- Reduces iron and other metal contaminants too
- Delivers a strong and constant water pressure
- Comes with a 2 year limited warranty with materials
- Doesn’t feature a UV light purifier and softener
- Might need hiring a specialist for installation
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC is indeed among the best filtration systems you can find in the market for both well and city water supplies. It has very effective filters, delivers high water pressure and has really low maintenance. It’s a great option for anyone looking unit that can perform thorough filtration. It’s perfect option especially if you a water softener already installed.
Key Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Whole House Water Filter
Before you proceed to purchase a whole house water filtration system, there are certain things that you need to take under consideration to ensure that you pick the right system for your particular household as well as needs. These factors include:
Consider the Type of Filter
Different filters block different contaminants. Therefore, you need to pick a unit with a filter or filters that will be effective in removing the specific contaminants present in your water. A water test should tell the kind of contaminants that are already present in the water.
There are basically two major category of filters when it comes to whole house filtration systems. We have the standard filters also known as the cartridge type filters and heavy duty filters which are often equipped with a carbon tank and referred to as carbon tank models.
A typical example of the heavy duty filters is the Aquasana Rhine EQ-1000 above. Systems consisting of these filters are designed to last for a really long period of time and a good example is the Aquasana model which is designed to filter as much as 1 million gallons of water or last for at least 10 years before you can think of doing a replacement.
The standard filters on other hand are replaced frequently as most of them tend to last for around 5 to 12 months. They are replaceable cartridge type filters used most often in single stage, double stage as well as three stage whose house filtration systems. They offer an opportunity to customize the system based on the type of contaminants you want to eliminate.
Aside from these two, there are systems that may feature some special filters like a UV filter to help to reduce bacterial contamination. In other words, you choice of filter system will solely depend on the type of contaminants you are dealing with.
For example, if your water has a lot of heavy metal contaminants, then you can just go for a standard copper-zinc mineral filter.
Filter Micron Size
The micron ratings of a filter is the next important thing you want to look at before buying a filtration system. Here, your choice again will depend on you water test results. For example, a filter with a micron rating of 50 is basically ideal for removing sand, silt and rust.
In other words, it will trap all dissolved particles in the water that have a maximum size of 50 microns. While you will find systems with filters that have ratings of 25 to 10 microns, generally the rating of the filters of most standard and heavy units tend to range between 1 to 5 microns.
Some systems even have filters that are capable of block anything that’s bigger than 0.35microns. These are amongst the best options you can find in the market since they are able to deal a highly contaminated source. Basically, the lower the micron rating, the cleaner the water would be. Note that, the flow rate will also be affected.
Lifespan of the Filter
You need to get a filter that can last for a long period of time. Most filter systems need to be maintained well and a majority of them often require very little maintenance. So it would be much better and convenient for you to get a filter with a longer lifespan. One that will not require you to change it more frequently.
The most common options you will find on the market are filters with a lifespan ranging from 6 to 12 months which are fairly decent as a majority of them will go for a year before you can change them again.
On the other hand, you can opt for a unit that offers great longevity like the Aquasana EQ-1000 which has a capacity of 1 million gallons hence can go for more than 10 years without you replacing the filter. Your choice here will mainly rely on your budget and needs but the longer the lifespan, the better.
Note the Flow Rate
The flow rate of the unit will largely determine the amount of water pressure delivered by al the faucets in the house. You need a system that will deliver a fast and steady flow of water in all areas of your house.
Typically, most systems would have a flow rate that ranges between 10 to 20 gallons per minute. If your household is small, then you might only need a unit that can deliver around 10 to 15 gallons of water each minute. That’s a great option since a higher flow rate would be too much.
For larger households, you should get a unit that can produce more than 15 gallons per minute. This will be able to keep up with the high water demands of everyone at home. In fact, the higher the flow rate, the higher the chances of getting a steady water pressure all over the house.
Finally you want to make sure that you pick a unit that’s easy to install. If you are hands on person with some good plumbing or DIY skill, then you won’t have much problem setting it up a majority of units. Look for models that come with the tools and clear instructions to make the whole process much easier.
You should first consider the pace available for setting up the unit in your home so that you can pick something that will fit properly. The space should be fairly large on all sides.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the best whole house water filter system is not about which system has highest number of filters or the highest flow rate. Each filter is designed to handle certain contaminants and might be less effective at removing others.
Therefore, you need to determine what contaminants are present in your water so that you can select the right model which will better suit all your needs. Our top six list above contains units that are ideal for different kind of households. They are well made and very effective when it comes to performance.
They are not the only options out there though. There are plenty of other great models available in the market that you can evaluate and see whether you can find one that will address all your exact needs. Otherwise, you can consider out top options above and pick the one that you feel has got all that you want.