Still finding the best whole house water filter system for well or city water?
Well, I’ve researched and reviewed more than 30 whole house water filtration systems and shortlisted the 10 excellent ones just for you.
The whole house water filter is also sometimes referred as the point of entry (POE) water filter or outdoor water filter.
It’s used to protect the whole house piping system from sediments like rust, heavy metals, small stones, sand, and large particles.
An outdoor whole house water filter can also act as the first layer of water filtration to reduce the burden for all the in-house point of use (POU) water filters.
It’s necessary especially for areas with bad water quality. Otherwise, you and your family are going to take the bath and wash your face with contaminated water.
Disclosure: BrizFeel is a participant of Amazon Associate program.
Top 10 Best Whole House Water Filter System in 2021
Here are the top 10 best whole house water filtration systems in 2021:
- Express Water Heavy Metal WH300SCKS – Best Whole House Water Filter (Overall)
- Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000-AST-UV + UV Purifier & Salt-Free Descaler – Best Filtration
- Home Master HMF3SDGFEC – Best Whole House Water Filter for Well Water
- Express Water WH300SCGS – Best Whole House Water Filter for City Water
- iSpring WGB32B-PB – Best Whole House Water Filter for Lead Removal
- Home Master HMF2SMGCC – Best Whole House Water Filter for Chloramine
- iSpring WGB22BM – Best Budget Whole House Water Filter for Well Water
- iSpring WGB22B – Best Budget Whole House Water Filter for City Water
- 3M Aqua-Pure AP903 – Best High-Flow Whole House Water Filter
- GE GXWH40L+ FXHSC – Best Compact Whole House Water Filter
How I Pick The Best Whole House Water Filter for Well Water & City Water
When coming to getting the best water filtration system for home, here are some important factors that I will consider about:
- Filtration capability
- Filter lifespan
- Housing materials
- Installation and replacement
- Customer service
- Filter size
If a filtration system can’t perform well in filtering out sediments and contaminants, it doesn’t deserve to appear in front of you here, so I remove it silently at the back end.
During my review, I have seen some whole house water filters that do not have a sediment filter in their set up.
For these filters, I automatically added in a separate sediment filter and consider it as a whole.
Since it’s a front line filter, a sediment filter is a must.
The top 6 whole house water filters have proven themselves in term of filtration capabilities.
Humans are lazy (I knew), so to reduce your whole house water filter replacement frequency, most of the top water filters I shortlisted only need to be maintained every 12 months for a family of four to five.
While for smaller size and capacity filters, it should at least last for 2 months, best at 3 months.
For a whole house water filtration system, I do have some requirements for the housing materials as it might be placed at outdoor area and under the sun.
So, you won’t see any filters that made from cheap plastic here.
The housing materials have to be endurable against hot temperature and acidity from rain.
Installation and Filter Replacement
In order to lighten your whole house filter installation and replacement work, those filters with simpler installation and filter replacement process will have a better edge to be included in the best whole house water filters list.
Every product comes with a cost, but what I really care about is the value.
There’s no point to buy a cheap water filter that only lasts for a month and bring you a lot of troubles like water leaking and low quality filtered water.
Also, it’s not worth to buy an expensive water filter that performs the same as others with much lower cost.
I valued the ratio of product performance to its cost more than the cost alone.
For a product like a water filtration system, there is a high probability that a buyer may have questions regarding the following:
- Product issues
- Installation and maintenance issues
- Leaking issues
- Instructions before use
- Technical issues
- Filtered water issues
So, how can a product like this go far without a great customer service team standing behind to solve customers inquiries and issues?
Imagine when you are in trouble and calling the office number multiple times a day during working hours but nobody picks up the phone. Or sent multiple emails weeks ago but yet to receive a single reply.
How frustrating is it, right?
Facing a bad customer service team will definitely ruin the overall experience in using the product, even if the product is cheap!
This is not that relevant for a landed house with plenty of outdoor space.
But for families that stay in an apartment with limited space, the filter size does matter.
Therefore, I took into account the capacity-to-space ratio to shortlisted a few space-efficient whole house water filters.
Top 10 Best Whole House Water Filtration Systems in 2021 [Reviews]
Without further ado, let’s go through each of the best whole house water filters in 2021:
1. Express Water Heavy Metal WH300SCKS [Review] – Best Whole House Water Filter (Overall)
- Strong filtration performance against sediments, chlorine, chloramine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, sulfur, hydrogen sulfate, fungi, viruses, etc.
- Fast water filtration rate up to 15 GPM
- High filter capacity that lasts up to 100,000 gallons or 12 months
- Quick and easy filter replacement
- The 1st-stage housing is translucent for easy monitoring
- With 3 pressure gauges and release buttons
The Express Water Heavy Metal WH300SCKS is a 3-stage whole-home filtration system that are designed to remove and reduce a wide range of harmful contaminants like lead, iron, mercury, nickel, copper, sulfur, hydrogen sulfate, fungi, rust, silt, chlorine, chloramine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, cadmium, chromium, viruses, turbidity, cloudiness, and many more.
Here are the 3 stages of filtration:
This point-of-entry whole house system is capable to supply a large volume of clean water to the entire house to protect you and your family from showering with harsh chlorine and appliances breakdown due to water contaminants.
For convenience, the first filter housing is translucent so you can see your filter and know when it needs to be replaced without dismantling the system.
Besides, all the components and filters are independently tested and verified to meet NSF/ANSI standards.
So, let’s start using clean and healthy water for your house, family members, pets, plants, appliances, clothes, cooking, showering, and more!
2. Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000-AST-UV Whole House Water Filter + UV Purifier & Salt-Free Descaler – Best Filtration
- Effectively remove and reduce harmful contaminants like chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, herbicides, lead, mercury, bacteria, and viruses
- With a salt-free water conditioner to soften the water
- With a UV filter to kill microorganisms like bacteria and viruses
- Ultra-long filter life up to 1 million gallons of filtration or 10 years
- Up to 7 GPM water filtration rate
- Unique Upflow, Dual-tank design
- Easy maintenance
The Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000-AST-UV is an ultra-high capacity whole house filtration system that comes with a salt-free Scale Control Media (SCM) and UV purifier to maximize the filtration performance while keeping the essential minerals in water.
Here’s the breakdown of this powerful whole house water filtration system:
This powerful filtration system supplies clean water to your entire house, allowing you to get healthier skin and hair from showering.
Besides, the salt-free water conditioner can prevent scale forming to protect your home plumbing system and appliances.
To maintain high water flow rate, the pre-filter and post-filter need to be replaced every 3 months.
3. Home Master 3-Stage HMF3SDGFEC [Review] – Best Whole House Water Filter for Well Water
- Effectively remove sediments, chemicals, iron, manganese, sulfur smell, chlorine taste and odor, pesticides, herbicides, and more contaminants.
- Down to 1-micron filtration with a multi-gradient density sediment filter.
- High water pressure filter housings with 1-inch ports and up to 15 GPM (gallons per minute) water flow rate.
- Large capacity coconut shell carbon filter provides clean water with high filtration rate.
- Replace every 100,000 gallons or 12 months.
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC is a 3-stage whole house water filter that consists of a multi-gradient sediment filter, a radial flow iron, manganese, and sulfur reduction filter, and a radial flow carbon filter which make it the ideal point of entry water filtration system for your home.
Here’s the breakdown of each filter stage and its function:
The combination provides strong filtration against sediments, iron, manganese, chemicals, sulfur, bad taste and odor, bacterial, and more contaminants which make it the perfect whole house filter for non-chlorinated well water with pH level above 7.0 and no iron bacteria.
Tip: To know the well water condition, you may get your well water analysis from lab prior to buying.
Besides, the 1-inch ports housing provide high-pressure water and fast flow rate up to 15 GPM for simultaneous water needs.
Also, the large capacity filters allowed it to last for 12 months which reduce your maintenance frequency and cost.
4. Express Water 3-Stage WH300SCGS [Review] – Best Whole House Water Filter for City Water
- Effectively remove rust, sand, Insecticides, Pesticides, Herbicides, Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs), Turbidity, Chlorine taste and odor, and more contaminants.
- Quick and easy filters replacement.
- 1-inch ports for high water pressure flow up to 15 GPM.
- Replace filters every 100,000 gallons of water or 12 months of usage.
- Made with 100% food-grade materials.
- All components are tested to meet NSF/ANSI standards for quality assurance.
- Comes with a 1-year warranty and free lifetime support.
The Express Water 3 stage whole house filtration system is designed to provide a high volume of filtered water to your entire house without pressure drop so that you can enjoy your shower without chlorine taste and smell and protect your home appliances from getting damaged by water contaminants.
Here’s the breakdown of the 3-stage filtration system:
All the filter housings are made from solid ABS and PCE plastic for high durability and the 1st-stage housing is translucent to let you observe the filter current condition without open up the housing.
To ease your maintenance work, the filtration system comes with 3 separate pressure release buttons and simple twist-off filter housing for easy filters replacement.
5. iSpring WGB32B-PB 3-Stage [Review] – Best Whole House Water Filter for Lead Removal
- Effectively remove sediments, chlorine, bad taste and odor, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), industrial solvents, herbicides, and more from tap water
- Greatly reduce lead and iron contaminants
- High water flow rate up to 15 GPM
- Simple installation
- Large capacity that lasts up to 100,000 gallons of filtration or 12 months
- Filters are tested to meet NSF/ANSI standards
Here are the 3 stages of water filtration:
6. Home Master HMF2SMGCC 2-Stage [Review] – Best Whole House Water Filter for Chloramine
- Fine water filtration with 4 layers of gradient density sediment filter from 25 microns down to 1 micron.
- Effectively remove up to 95% of Chlorine, Chloramines, heavy metals, chemicals, and other contaminants in water.
- High capacity filters produce high water pressure and flow rate to the whole house.
- Long filters lifespan of up to 95,000 gallons of water or 12 months for four to five users.
- Support high water pressure up to 10 GPM.
The Home Master HMF2SMGCC is a 2-stage whole house water filtration system that’s capable to provide high pressure safe filtered water to the entire house with its combination of multi-gradient sediment filter and KDF85/Catalytic Carbon filter.
Here’s the breakdown of each filter function:
Just install it at the incoming water entry to enjoy the clean filtered water from all your water faucets.
It’s effective in removing both Chlorine and Chloramines from the water, make it a great solution for the municipally treated water that contains both types of chemicals.
7. iSpring WGB22BM 2-Stage [Review] – Best Whole House Water Filter for Well Water (Budget)
- Effectively reduce iron, manganese, and more contaminants in water
- Remove common contaminants like sediments, chlorine taste and odor, industrial solvents, VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, and more
- High water flow rate up to 15 GPM
- Large capacity up to 100,000 gallons of filtration or 1 year
The iSpring WGB22BM is a 2-stage whole house water filtration system that is designed to fight against iron, manganese, chloramines, heavy metals, nitrates, industrial solvents, chemicals, and more harmful contaminants.
Here are 2 layers of contaminants removal:
8. iSpring WGB22B 2-Stage [Review] – Best Whole House Water Filter for City Water (Budget)
- Effectively remove up to 98% of sediments, rust, VOCs, industrial solvents, herbicides, pesticides, Chlorine taste and odor, and more contaminants.
- Strong water filtration down to 5 microns.
- Fast water flow rate up to 15 GPM.
- Replace every 100,000 gallons of water or 12 months usage.
- Tested to meet NSF/ANSI Standards.
This iSpring whole house water filter is a great choice for filtering municipally treated water because of its 5 microns sediment filter and CTO coconut shell carbon block filter.
Here’s the breakdown of the 2-stage filter functions:
9. 3M Aqua-Pure AP903 [Review] – Best High Flow Whole House Water Filter
- Effectively reduces Chlorine taste and odor, chemicals, and other common contaminants.
- Able to reduce sediment, rust, dirt, and large particles.
- Great filtration down to 5 microns.
- Quick Change Cartridge for fast and easy filter replacement.
- High water filtration rate at 20 GPM.
- Replace every 100,000 gallons of water or 1-year usage.
If you already have a whole house sediment filter, then the 3M Aqua-Pure AP903 Whole House Water Filter can be a great second filtration layer after the sediment filter.
It’s a high flow 5-micron carbon block filter that is great in removing Chlorine taste and odor and other contaminants to provide clean filtered water to your entire house with strong water pressure.
Besides, the Sanitary Quick Change (SQC) design of this filtration system saves your time and effort in replacing the filter cartridge.
10. GE GXWH40L+ FXHSC [Review] – Best Compact Whole House Water Filter
- GE FXHSC is a pleated sediment filter that reduces Chlorine and sediments like rust, sand, silt, scale, and more contaminants down to 30 microns.
- High water flow rate up to 10 GPM.
- Filter lifespan lasts up to 24,000 gallons of water or 3 months for a family of four.
- Simple installation.
- Comes with a magnetic filter reminder light.
- The whole system is tested and certified by NSF/ANSI against standard 42.
The GE GXWH40L high flow filter housing plus a GE FXHSC pleated sediment filter cartridge is the most basic whole house water filter for all kind of water source.
By getting this whole house sediment water filter, you can have basic water filtration in under a hundred US dollar which makes it the best budget solution for whole house water filtration.
As you will have to replace the filter 4 times a year, a magnetic filter reminder light is included to aid you in replacing the filter.
Why You Need A Whole House Water Filter
Without a whole house water filter, the incoming water that carrying sediments and contaminants like rust, sand, heavy metals, little stones, and dust will travel through all your piping system and cause piping degradation.
Also, the bad quality water may damage your washing machine and cause yellowish in your clothing every time you wash.
Not only that, the incoming contaminated water will affect your skin badly during bathing and face cleansing, especially if your home has a baby.
So, why not just install a great whole house water filter and get rid of all the above risks to have a peace of mind?
A single whole house water filter can also prolong the lifespan of all your other point-of-use water filters due to better input water quality, which reduces your overall maintenance cost and hassles.
Tip 1: While a point of entry (POE) whole house water filtration system act as the frontline of water filtration, I’ll still highly recommend you to get a point of use water filter like Reverse Osmosis filter for drinking purpose.
Tip 2: Consider adding a low-cost flushable sediment filter in front of the whole house filtration system to prolong its lifespan, as the main system is what costs more.
Tip 3: As all whole house water filters are designed to operate on certain water pressure range, so if your water pressure is higher than the acceptable range, you’ll need to add a pressure regulator to lower down the water pressure before entering the system.
Tip 4: Before you start using any whole house water filter, always remember to flush the system first to ensure no residuals like carbon flakes entering your pipe system!
How to Choose the Best Whole House Water Filtration System (Buying Guide)
Well, you can spend thousands to get the most powerful whole house water filtration system that treats everything from sediments to viruses, but the question is, do you really need that?
The main purpose of a whole house water filter system is to protect your family from unwanted contaminants to give you peace of mind.
As not all water sources are contaminated by the same type of impurities, so by knowing what is inside your water, you can opt for the best whole house water filter without spending a fortune.
Getting the Right Whole House Water Filter by Knowing Your Water
The first step in getting the right whole house water filtration system is to know the possible contaminants in your water source.
For city water, it could contain the following contaminants:
The disinfectant enters the water during the water treatment process in the plant, while other contaminants could enter the water from the underground path.
For well water, it could contain even more contaminants such as:
These are some of the possible contaminants that exist in your water source, but most of the time, your water won’t contain all of these.
The amount and type of contaminants is depending on your area, surrounding, and water treatment plant.
If you stay near an industrial area, there is a higher chance your water may contain industrial solvents and chemicals.
If you stay near a vegetable farm, then your water has a higher risk of containing herbicides and pesticides.
If you are getting municipally treated water, then you should focus on a whole house water filter that is good against sediments, chemicals like chlorine and chloramine, and other common contaminants.
In other words, your whole house filtration system shall contain a sediment filter and at least one activated carbon filter.
If you are getting private well water, then you should go for a whole house water filter that has strong filtration power against sediments, iron, heavy metals, sulfur, and other harmful contaminants or add a UV filter after the last stage of the whole house water filter to kill 99.99% of microorganisms like bacteria (E.Coli), viruses.
To know what type of contaminants is in your water, you may request a report from the water treatment plant or send a water sample to the certified lab for testing.
Once you know the unique contaminants inside your water, it is time to pick the best water filter for the whole house that can reliably get rid of the unwanted contaminants.
Does the Whole House Water Filter Meet NSF International Standards?
NSF International is a voluntary organization that tests and certifies water filter products against the minimum standards recognized by American National Standard Institute (ANSI).
When a whole house water filtration system is tested and certified by NSF/ANSI, we know that its performance is assured.
Here are standards for NSF/ANSI certification:
When buying a whole house water filter, make sure it is NSF/ANSI certified and don’t blindly follow what the water filter company advertised.
Of course, I’m not saying that a water filter system without NSF/ANSI certification is bad, but from a consumer point of view, certified is better than no.
Besides, when a water filter company is willing to pay an expensive fee to get their product tested and certified by NSF/ANSI, it shows that the company is committed to creating a high-quality water filtration system for the long-term.
Bear in mind that NSF/ANSI only tests against the minimum standard, so an NSF-certified whole house water filter doesn’t mean it has the top filtration performance.
There are higher priorities factors that we need to consider, NSF/ANSI certification is just a bonus score for a confidence boost.
Prioritize Reputable Water Filter Brands
As NSF/ANSI certification does not equal quality control, so the probability of getting a bad product is lesser when buying from a reputable water filter company.
To clarify further, while the NSF certification involves regular re-testing of the water filter and on-site inspections of manufacturing facilities to maintain the certification, it is not possible to test all the products of the same model.
So, when the water filter company mass-producing the same model of water filters, a minority of it (or we called “bad batch”) may not meet the NSF/ANSI standards, but they are still NSF/ANSI certified.
Water Flow Rate
All whole house water filtration systems come with a flow rate rating which indicates the maximum water filtration rate, usually in gallon per minute.
Let me give you some idea to estimate the minimum flow rate required for your home.
Therefore, a minimum flow rate of 7 GPM is required for water-using activities to happen simultaneously without pressure drop.
Usually, a whole house water filter with a higher flow rate is preferred, but with a condition, which I will discuss next.
Filtration Strength and Micron Rating
A faster flow rate doesn’t make a whole house water filtration system better unless the filtration strength requirement is fulfilled.
Practically, the water filters with a higher filtration strength or lower micron rating tend to have a slower water filtration rate.
Tip: A filter with a 5-micron rating will block every contaminant that is equal and larger than 5 microns from passing through.
Therefore, you’ll need to decide the sweet spot based on your situation.
If you prefer a long-lasting whole house water filtration system with high filtration strength, then the Aquasana EQ-1000 is probably the best choice for you.
It lasts up to 10 years, with a micron rating of 0.35, and has a 7 GPM flow rate.
Filter Lifespan and Maintenance Frequency
No filter can last forever.
All filters will eventually be worn out after a certain period and must be replaced.
The main running cost of a whole house water filtration system is determined by the filter cartridge replacements cost.
Therefore, when you do the maintenance cost calculation of a whole house filtration system, you have to factor in the filter cartridge cost and lifespan.
Here are the typical lifespans of the filter cartridge:
The actual replacement frequency is depending on the water quality and usage.
For instance, the more contaminated the water is, the shorter the filter lifespan, and the more water you used, the more frequent you need to replace the filter cartridge.
For a multi-stage whole house water filtration system, you’ll need to replace the filter cartridges at different intervals according to their types and capacities.
Always aim for a higher capacity filter (if the cost per gallon is not much different) to reduce the frequency of replacing the filter.
What is Your Average Monthly Water Usage?
As a rule of thumb, the higher the monthly water usage, the higher the filter capacity is needed for your home.
You can estimate it based on how many people in your house.
According to USGS, a person uses about 80-100 gallons of water daily.
Let’s take the average of 90 for calculation purpose, a family of four will use about 90 gallons x 365 days x 4 persons, which equal to 131,400 gallons of water.
But of course, we haven’t minus off the time for vacations, shopping, dining out, etc., so I will say roughly about 100,000 gallons capacity is needed to last for 12 months.
But if there are heavy users in the house, like washing their cars a few times in a single month, you need to add that up as well.
It’s neither cost-effective to get a huge capacity water filter with only 2 people in the house nor efficient to get a low capacity water filter with 7 people in the house.
So do remember to estimate the average monthly water usage first before deciding on a whole house water filter.
Quality of Filter Cartridges
The filter cartridges are the core of a water filtration system that decides the overall performance.
Therefore, it is recommended to evaluate the quality of each cartridge in the water filtration system.
Each filter is made to handle specific contaminants up to a certain percentage or level.
For instance, some carbon filters can remove up to 95% of chlorine, but some can remove up to 99.5%.
Please note that the actual figure is depending on your water quality, it can be 60%, 70%, 80%, or 95%.
Also, a filter cartridge that can only remove iron up to 3 ppm is not suitable for you if the iron concentration in your water is higher than 3 ppm.
Therefore, choose a higher quality filter cartridge media with more advanced technology.
Number of Filter Cartridges
The number of filter cartridges in a whole house water filtration system will also affect the overall filtration performance and efficiency of the system.
Generally, the more filter cartridges, the better the filtration performance, subject to the type of filter cartridges.
But it doesn’t mean you need to build a 5 to 7 stages whole house water filtration system, which is redundant and wasting money.
For whole house filtration purposes, 1 to 3 stages are the ideal number.
Where are You Going to Put the Whole House Water Filtration System?
If you install the water filter in the outdoor area which is exposed to direct sunlight and rain, then the filter housing material and quality become important to withstand the weather.
With that being said, you should only consider filters that come with a robust housing for an exposed outdoor location.
While for the indoor or covered location, high-quality plastic housing will do the job well.
System Size and Available Space
Are you staying in a landed house or a high-rise apartment?
A whole house water filter is just like a point-of-use multi-stage water filtration system but at a larger scale – higher capacity and faster water flow rate.
Therefore, the dimension of a whole house water filtration system is usually larger than point-of-use under-sink and countertop filtration systems.
Before buying, make sure to measure the available space and decide the location for the whole house water filter.
Usually, there are more spaces to install a whole house water filter for a landed house, so the system size is not a major concern.
But for high-rise apartments, the space to put the water filter could be a major issue.
In this case, a space-efficient whole house water filter could be the wise choice to get the best balance between space and filter capacity.
Water Hardness Level
If your water source is slightly or medium-hard, you can choose a whole house water filtration system with the softening or descaling feature like the Aquasana system to prevent scale build-up on your bathroom floors or appliances.
However, if your water is hard or very hard, I’ll highly recommend you get a separate water softener to get rid of the excess minerals.
System Cost and Your Budget
This is a very realistic question, no problem with it.
In this consumer report, 89% said price is the number one factor when it comes to purchasing.
When you are deciding on a whole house water filtration system, you need to gauge between your affordability and system functionality.
Also, don’t just see the initial purchase price, but also take into account the filter replacements cost when calculating the actual cost of ownership.
A whole house water filtration system can last for many years, so it is more accurate to calculate the initial purchase price along with on-going maintenance costs.
Some whole house water filters may cost more upfront but with lower running cost, which makes the average yearly ownership cost lower compared to some with low initial price but expensive filter cartridges replacement cost.
For instance, let’s take the three 2-stage whole house water filters mentioned in my above reviews.
Three of them are capable to remove sediments, chlorine taste and odor, and the majority of common contaminants.
The obvious differences are the filtration capability and product price.
Now. let’s rank them accordingly.
Filtration Capability Ranking:
- Home Master HMF2SMGCC (down to 1 micron and able to remove Chloramines and water-soluble heavy metals)
- Home Master HMF2SDGC (down to 1 micron)
- iSpring WGB22B (down to 5 microns)
Product Price Ranking:
- iSpring WGB22B
- Home Master HMF2SDGC
- Home Master HMF2SMGCC
By looking at the differences, all you need to do is to gauge the balance between price and filtration capability.
If budget allowed and you need to remove Chloramines or heavy metals, go for Home Master HMF2SMGCC.
If budget allowed and you don’t need to remove Chloramines or heavy metals, go for Home Master HMF2SDGC.
If the budget is tight, go for iSpring WGB22B or a single stage whole house water filter.
That’s how you decide the right whole house water filter for your home.
Only Pay for What You Need or Slightly More
Unless you have a lot of money to spend, otherwise, it is better to pay for what you need or just slightly more to prepare for the unknown.
If you are using municipally treated water, you don’t have to buy an expensive water filtration system that capable to destroy viruses, because they are almost non-existence in city water.
Likewise, if your water is soft, why pay for a water softening system?
Waste money, space, and time.
The best whole house water filtration system is not the most expensive one, but the one that fits your situation the most.
Should You Get a Whole House Reverse Osmosis System?
The answer is no.
Three reasons – flow rate, water efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.
Let me explain.
A whole house water filtration system is meant to be installed at the entry point (water inlet) to filter every single drop of water entering your house.
The filtered water is then distributed to all the water taps in your house.
Slow Water Flow Rate
Reverse Osmosis is a powerful filtration process that removes most of the contaminants including dissolved solids, but the water filtration rate is slower compared to a non-RO filtration system.
Therefore, a Reverse Osmosis system is mostly installed in the kitchen to produce drinking water.
The Reverse Osmosis process will produce wastewater (or brine) at the ratio of 1:1 to 1:4, which further discourages people to use it as a point-of-entry (POE) system.
Imagine every drop of water you used for washing hands, showering, and flushing toilet bowl is at the cost of 1 to 4 times of wastewater, that is a lot of water wasted, and your water bill is going to skyrocket!
So, it is better to use a Reverse Osmosis system as a point-of-use (POU) system.
A Reverse Osmosis filter is expensive, so it is costly to use it for whole house water filtration.
Also, don’t forget the cost of wastewater (brine).
Here’s the comparison table for the top 10 best whole house water filters in 2021:
Reason to Pick
Express Water Heavy Metal
Home Master HMF3SDGFEC
Best for Well Water
Express Water WH300SCGS
Best for City Water
Best for Lead Removal
Home Master HMF2SMGCC
Best for Chloramine
Best for Well Water (Budget)
Best for City Water (Budget)
3M Aqua-Pure AP903
Best High Flow Water Filter
GE GXWH40L + GE FXHSC
Best Compact Water Filter
FAQs for Whole House Water Filtration System
1. How do I know my water condition?
To know the actual water condition, you may get a professional water analysis report from water analytical lab. Otherwise, you may use a TDS meter to estimate the water quality.
2. What is the best whole house water filter for well?
The best whole house water filter for well water is the Home Master HMF3SDGFEC Whole House 3-Stage Water Filter.
3. Should I get a Whole House Reverse Osmosis System for my home?
No, you shouldn’t.
The Reverse Osmosis is not an efficient process for whole house water filtration, and here’s why:
First, it wastes a lot of water to produce the purest drinkable water, and you want to use it to flush your toilet? What a waste!
Second, the water filtration rate is much slower compared to the non-RO system, so are you okay to shower with drips of water? And it gets worse with simultaneous uses from family members.
While the Reverse Osmosis system is a great point-of-use water filter, it’s not for whole house water filtration.
4. Why the TDS value I measured is not much difference from the water source?
TDS meter is only suitable to measure Reverse Osmosis filtered water.
Because a flow-through water filter will retain the minerals in water which contribute to TDS value, therefore, the TDS reading will not drop much.
5. Can a TDS meter really measure the Total Dissolved Solids in the water?
The answer is no.
I have seen many people used a TDS meter or TDS pen to measure Total Dissolved Solids in their water without knowing what is really being measured.
In short, what TDS meter measured is the electrical conductivity (EC) in water (pure H2O has virtually zero EC), and then times the EC value by a factor between 0.5 to 1 (set by the manufacturer) to estimates the TDS (which is not the real Total Dissolved Solids in water).
For instances, dissolved organic solids (eg: sugar) and microscopic solid particles (eg: colloids) are not measurable by the TDS meter because they do not affect the water conductivity significantly.
The accurate way to measure the actual TDS in water is to evaporate the water and then weighing the dissolved residue left.
6. What is the water flow rate of a whole house system that I need?
Depending on your family size and water usage, you should aim for a whole house water filter that provides at least 7 GPM to your entire house for a family of four.
7. How frequently I need to replace a filter cartridge?
It really depends on the filter capacity, water quality, and usages, it may last from 1 month all the way to 3 years (maximum).
For safety wise, any filter cartridge that is not washable should change every 3 to 12 months, except those with very high capacity and purposely made to last for a long period of time.
8. What if my water hardness level is very high?
If that’s the case, you may install a water softener prior to the main whole house water filtration system to prolong the lifespan of the main filters.
The water softener shall be replaced or flushed frequently to prevent water pressure drop for the entire house.
9. What is the whole house water filter requirements for well water?
For well water, you should go for a whole house filtration system that is capable to filter out heavy metals like iron and manganese, sulfur, and other well water contaminants.
10. Why my filtered water have black flakes or grey in color?
No worries, It’s normal for the first few times if you are using a water filtration system that contains carbon block filter.
The greyish color is due to the black color carbon block and the black flakes are from the newly manufactured carbon block.
Just flush the system for about 5 minutes and 2-3 times will do.
11. How to know whether the water filter cartridge is clogged or it’s time to replace?
You can measure the pressure drop by installing pressure gauges before and after the filter.
When the filter cartridge is new, run the water filtration system and write down the difference of pressure reading (let’s say 2 psi). Then measure again after a few months, you’ll notice the pressure difference is increasing, let’s say to 7 psi
When the difference of 2 pressure gauges reading reach about 15, it’s time to change the filter cartridge (or wash if it’s washable).
12. Is NSF certification required?
The answer is no, but it’s highly recommended to have NSF certified for all components that have contact with water (especially for smaller brands).
NSF is a certification system and not a quality control system, so it can’t guarantee the filter performance in the long run and the quality of your filter when it’s manufactured (since thousands of filters are being manufactured and shipped to customers directly without going through NSF).
13. Is the water filter brand important?
Not absolutely but is recommended if it’s a highly reputable brand in term of product safety, quality control and customer support.
As we discussed earlier, the important parts of considering a water filter are about the material of the components, where the components are manufactured, and the functionality of the filter system.
So more importantly, choose a water filter which all its components are manufactured by reputable companies with strict material control and strict quality control (eg: US-based manufacturers).
14. If the water filter is “Made in USA”, is that mean it’s 100% safe and good?
Not really. For example, a water filter company bought all the low-quality components from elsewhere and assembled in the USA, the company is allowed to say the water filter is “Made in USA”, but this doesn’t justify the product quality and safeties.
What you really need to know is where the components (which used to build the water filtration system) are manufactured. For instance, if all the components are made in the USA and assembled in Thailand, then the water filtration system is considered safe.
Have you found the best whole house water filter for your home?
I hope you do.
As you already know, a whole house water filtration system is important for you and your family members to enjoy clean water for showering, washing, and cooking.
So if your budget allows, just get the best one for your family.
It’s definitely worth the investment!
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