The Best Water Filter Pitchers of 2023, by Food & Wine
Jul 19, 2023
Our top picks remove harmful contaminants from tap water for safer sipping at home.
Jump to a Section
We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.
Food & Wine / Williams Sonoma
If you’re on top of your hydration game, you likely already own an insulated water bottle that you love. You’ve also probably invested in a filtered water bottle so you can safely fill up wherever you go. For hydrating at home, one of the easiest ways to get your recommended daily water intake is with a water filter pitcher. These handy pitchers supply consistently crisp, clean, and contaminant-free water for making coffee, watering your herb garden, or filling up your favorite drinking glass.
"If you’re a big water drinker, I’d recommend drinking filtered water. There’s really nothing to lose and a lot to potentially gain when you filter your water. For example, recent test results found that at least 45% of our country’s tap water supply harbors at least one, if not more, PFAS — aka “forever chemicals” — that have harmful health effects," says senior editor Brierley Horton, M.S., R.D.
While most water filter pitchers use a similar filtration system, not all are created equal when it comes to material, functionality, and effective removal of impurities, chemicals, and contaminants. Investing in a water filter pitcher will not only ensure you’re sipping safely, but many of our favorite picks also happen to look gorgeous sitting on your countertop.
This pitcher has a double filtration system, called PureVis and Nano Zero filter technology, which double team contaminated water with carbon and UV light.
The PureVis technology component of this filter requires charging, which adds an extra set-up step every time you replace the filter.
While other water filter pitchers may provide a weeks-long filter replacement range, LARQ’s smart filter detects a bacteria limit and tracks the gallons you drink. This means you won’t have to guess the right moment to switch it out for a new one. Because the bacteria and contaminants that traditional filters pull out of the water can grow and multiply within the filter itself, this auto-detect feature ensures you’re sipping safely.
This particular model includes the advanced filter, which removes over 75 different pollutants from tap water with both carbon filtration and UV rays (which also works to self-clean the pitcher throughout the day). It can filter up to 60 gallons of water before needing a replacement.
Price at time of publish: $168
At under $20, the PUR gets the job done without requiring a hefty investment.
This pitcher has a slower filtration time, sometimes taking close to 15 minutes to fill the basin.
Although the PUR is the least expensive model in this list, it still removes the same harmful chemicals and contaminants as the rest of the included pitchers and even boasts an NSF certification when it comes to reducing microplastics in water. Slim enough to fit in most standard refrigerator doors, the pitcher’s Locksafe fit filtering lid sits securely within the top third of the pitcher and works to keep the unfiltered and filtered water separate, without leaks, even as you pour.
PUR suggests replacing your filter every 40 gallons, or about every two months. In case you forget, the pitcher also has a smart filter detection system with an indicator light that switches from green to yellow to red when it’s time to change the filter.
Price at the time of publish: $17
Without single-use filtration cartridges, this model is the most environmentally friendly option on the list. Plus all its stainless steel and glass parts are dishwasher-safe.
At $150 (and $30 for a 3-pack of filter granules), the Aarke is one of the pricier options included.
From the same company that makes one of our favorite soda water makers, this splurgy filter pitcher sets itself apart with a glass and metal (as opposed to plastic) construction, making it safe for use in the dishwasher. It’s also ultra-hygienic, as glass is less porous than plastic and is therefore less likely to absorb bacteria of any kind. Unlike other options which require a continual replacement of contained plastic filters, the Aarke uses an environmentally-friendly, refillable filter system consisting of a stainless-steel cartridge that houses filtration granules.
Although the granules need to be replaced slightly more often than other disposable filters, the pitcher’s lid has a filter replacement tracker on the inside so remembering to freshen up the granules is easy.
Price at time of publish: $150
This pitcher is by far the most aesthetically pleasing of all the options we’ve included.
When pouring, the Soma has a wider stream than some options, making it occasionally difficult to fill up bottles with slim necks.
This modern pitcher is crafted from BPA-free plastic and eco-friendly bamboo, and its replaceable filters are composed of 60 percent plant-based, renewable materials. Unlike other pitchers which require you to remove their lid or lift a door for filling, the Soma has a circular flap on its top that opens under water pressure for hands-free, easy refilling. It also has a spout cover that opens as you pour filtered water out but rests shut to prevent any dirt, dust, or debris from drifting into the basin or your glass.
The shatterproof 10-cup pitcher is sleek and comfortable to hold, but if you’re looking for an even more stylish (albeit slightly less functional) option, the brand also makes a carafe shape that takes the same reusable filters as the pitcher.
Price at time of publish: $45
The Hydros filters water quickly for almost instant refills.
If not handled with care, the pitcher’s glass body is prone to breaking.
This slim, filtering carafe can fit just about anywhere — on a fridge shelf, in a fridge door, on a crowded desk — and is pretty enough to deserve a spot on the dinner table. BPA-free, with glass walls and sustainable coconut shell carbon filters, this pitcher makes drinking water safe for you without being harmful to the environment. Although its capacity is only about half the size of most other pitchers included in our list, you’ll never be left parched, as the filter works to fill its tank quickly in less than a minute.
The Hydros must be held under running water to fill as it has no reservoir for unfiltered water. A little design feature we love: You can choose from several colored filters to add a little pop to the stylish carafe.
Price at time of publish: $35
This pitcher’s filters screw into the upper reservoir’s base to prevent even the slightest amount of leaking.
The replacement filters are a little pricey, adding cost over time.
If you’re looking to filter and alkalize water, the Seychelle is the option for you. Along with filtering out 99.9 percent aesthetic, inorganic, chemical, and radiological contaminants, this Seychelle pitcher alkalizes your drinking water up to a pH of 9.5. There is a noticeable difference in taste with this alkalized filtration, making water poured from this BPA-free pitcher feel and taste more refreshing without even a trace of metallic or mineral notes.
Bottled alkaline water can be more expensive than other bottled water, and alkalizing installment systems can range in the thousands of dollars, so this filtering pitcher will wind up saving you some serious bucks.
Price at time of publish: $80
We like this pitcher’s comfortable, ergonomic handle and simple, curved spout for easy pouring.
Due to its wide base and tall height, this pitcher may not be able to fit in smaller refrigerators.
Unlike most water filter pitchers, the Lifestraw has a simple, curved spout. This pretty pitcher generates a steady, accurate stream that can slide into water bottles or tumblers of any size and doesn’t require much precision or wrist control as you tilt. Filtering out most concerning particles, chemicals, and pollutants, the Lifestraw’s two-filter system is housed below an easy-fill lid and must be replaced every two months, and one year, respectively.
The 10-cup capacity of this pitcher lasts even a thirsty drinker quite a while, making for less frequent fill-ups. However, if you’re looking for a smaller size, the brand also makes a 7-cup version.
Price at the time of publish: $49
The compatible Elite disposable filter lasts nearly three times longer than average filters, saving money and making for worry-free sipping.
The handle is slightly uncomfortable to hold, especially when the pitcher is full.
As one of the first water filtration pitchers on the market, Brita is a household name at this point. With a 10-cup capacity, this extra-large model is designed to fit between standard-spaced refrigerator shelves and is safe from BPA leaching. Its spout makes for easy pouring and its filter easily slides into the slot securely, without being difficult to pull out when it’s time to replace it.
The pitcher is compatible with both the Standard and Elite filter replacement units, so you have versatility in price point, contaminant removal, and replacement period. Depending on which filter you use, this Brita should take about ten minutes to fill all the way up with the filtered water. Both filter options are comprised of activated charcoal and ion-exchange resin, which capture harmful impurities before they can make their way into your cup.
Price at time of publish: $45
Your filtering needs are determined by where you live and the water that supplies that specific location. You can check the quality of the water in your area by consulting the EPA’s Consumer Confidence Report page, where you can click on your state and search your zip code to find an accurate water testing website.
Finding out what the general contaminants in your water source may be will help you determine exactly which kind of filter is best suited to you. There are also plenty of water testing kits you can purchase online if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of what exactly is spewing from your spout.
You’ll need to consider where your water filter pitcher will fit in your home. Regardless of where you imagine your pitcher settling in your space, pay attention to the specs for each model before investing (a slimmer, taller option may slide more easily between the juice bottle and milk carton, for instance, but may not fit your fridge shelf height). It’s also important to consider the pitcher’s design. While every option we’ve included in the list above operates with a handle and a spout, some have spout covers or ergonomic handles.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, daily water intake should be at least 0.5-0.9 gallons a day (depending on age, sex, and exercise). "Total water intake includes drinks beyond plain water and also the water in our food. Most people typically get about 20% of the water they need from food," says Horton.
Most of the pitchers we’ve rounded up range in the 0.5-0.6 gallon range capacity, so all will most likely need to be refilled at some point throughout the day to meet that recommendation. How often they need to be refilled depends on their tank size.
Keep in mind that filtered water does not just have to be utilized as drinking water. You may find yourself using it to fill everything from the coffee maker to the kettle, in which case an option with a larger tank size may make the most sense. If you’ll be using a water filter pitcher strictly for drinking water, tank capacity may not be the most important factor.
Some water filter pitchers include features that go above and beyond standard carbon filtration. A few we’ve included have secondary filters, embedded UV lights, or alkalizing filtration methods. For the average hydration-minded person, a dependable and efficient carbon filter will do the trick when it comes to removing the most dangerous or unpleasant impurities in your tap water. If you’re looking for a pitcher that tells you exactly when to change your filter or one without any plastic parts at all, we also included those options for your specific needs.
Water filter pitchers use a carbon filtration system. The carbon for these filters is derived from bio-natural resources (such as coconut shells) and works by absorbing chemicals and contaminants, filling little cracks and fissures in the carbon granules with unwanted particles. While this is a highly effective method of filtration, there are different calibers of filters available. The contaminant absorption of these filters comes down to their activated charcoal concentration. A higher percentage of activated charcoal means more fissures and cracks to fill.
Water filter pitchers have a reservoir basin where tap water is poured, then the water trickles through a removable filter and fills the body of the pitcher below with filtered water. Unlike other water filters which may be installed directly below a faucet, water pitchers must be continuously refilled and their disposable filters must be replaced more frequently.
While some pitchers have an indicator that will notify you when it's time to swap out your filter, in general, it is important to keep an eye on the removable filter, taking it out for inspection every week or so to ensure no mold has grown or any other funky colors or odors have developed. One telltale sign that your filter needs to be replaced is if you notice the pitcher is taking longer than usual to fill up, which could signal a clogged or full filter. Another sign to look out for is if your water starts to taste funny.
Aside from replacing your filter as needed, when it comes to actually cleaning the water holders, protocols vary. Some pitchers can go in the dishwasher and others can’t. In general, it’s best to hand-wash your water filter pitcher with warm soapy water and a sponge. Depending on how often you’re using your pitcher, and where you keep it, you may only need to wash it once a week or so. As a rule of thumb, always give the pitcher a thorough wash any time you’re replacing the filter to make sure no bacteria growth remains.
The National Sanitation Foundation generated a list of water treatment systems, accredited by the American National Standards Institute, which help illuminate water safety and water contamination. Called the NSF/ANSI, this system of rating water treatments is helpful for understanding just what you’re removing from your H20 with a filter pitcher. Of the ten different categories, all carbon filtration systems fall under one: NSF/ANSI 53. This type of water treatment removes contaminants such as asbestos, chlorine, organic chemicals, heavy metals, pharmaceutical residue, PFOA, PFAS, and other harmful impurities.
In short, sometimes. NSF/ANSI 53 filtration systems have the potential to remove some forms of bacteria (such as asbestos bacteria) but do not remove all from your water. If you are concerned about a particular strain of bacteria in your drinking water, aside from consulting the user manual for your filter pitcher, you may consider buying some bacteria-specific water test kits to see what’s in your water before and after filtering.
Stella is a former Pastry Chef turned food writer with years of experience testing and researching all things food. Invested in discovering fun, new flavors, and the tools that help to make them, you can find her work in EdibleLA, Apartment Therapy, and the Kitchn.Price at time of publish: $168Dimensions: Capacity:Filter Life-Span: Price at the time of publish: $17Dimensions: Capacity:Filter Lifespan: Price at time of publish: $150Dimensions: Capacity:Filter Life-Span: Price at time of publish: $45Dimensions: Capacity:Filter Lifespan: Price at time of publish: $35Dimensions: Capacity:Filter Life-Span: Price at time of publish: $80Dimensions: Capacity:Filter Life-Span: Price at the time of publish: $49Dimensions: Capacity:Filter Life-Span: Price at time of publish: $45Dimensions: Capacity:Filter Lifespan: