Are you worried that you have contaminated water coming out of your faucets, but investing in an all-around reverse osmosis system or whole-house filtration isn’t an option for you? Then, a countertop water filter might be what you’re looking for.
But with almost every brand offering a countertop filter and the superabundance of these products in online stores, you might not know which one is the right fit for you. Even worse, the process of comparing specs and researching whether the numbers provided by the companies are reliable might confuse you further.
That’s why we did the leg work for you and spent months testing and evaluating different countertop water filters from almost every price range to come up with this list. Our criteria for testing and evaluation include crucial aspects like the contaminants the filter can remove, whether the product is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation, and, inevitably, the affordability of the products.
In the end, our research showed that the AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System is the best option for those who are looking for a countertop filter that provides the purest water. However, our list also includes more budget-friendly, space-saving, and innovative products as well.
Read on to find out.
The Best Countertop Water Filters Are:
- AquaTru Reverse Osmosis System – The Best Reverse Osmosis Countertop Filter: An NSF-certified reverse osmosis system that can remove many dangerous contaminants like lead, chromium 6, and arsenic from the water.
- Big Berkey Water Filter – The Countertop Filter That Removes the Most Contaminants: Ideal for households with 1 – 4 people with its capacity to hold 2.25 gallons of water, the Big Berkey offers technological innovation combined with a high-quality build. Independent tests show that it can remove up to 203 contaminants.
- Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Mineral Countertop Water Filter – A Budget-Friendly Option That Produces Pure Water Straight Out of the Faucet: Despite its affordability, its 8-stage filtration method ensures that you and your family are at no risk of contaminated water.
- Aquasana Claryum Countertop Water Filter – A Tiny Device That Instantly Transforms Your Tap Water: An extremely compact and efficient system that doesn’t require an extra faucet.
Our Review Criteria for Countertop Water Filters
Countertop water filters are more complicated than you might have guessed. First and foremost, not all of these devices filter the water through the same technology, so they don’t remove the same number of contaminants.
Similarly, the ease of their installation and how you should maintain the device vary depending on the type of filter and filtration method. That’s why we’re evaluating the products that we included in our list on the following criteria:
- Contaminants removed
- NSF certification
- Filtration technology
- Flow rate or water capacity
- Ease of installation
- Maintenance requirements
Now, let’s find out what each criterion listed above means and how our favorite countertop systems on the market fare against each other on all of these fronts.
A countertop filtration system is mainly installed to provide pure drinking water, so it’s expected to remove the majority of the most problematic contaminants like lead, arsenic, nitrates, and chromium.
Among these, lead is an especially common problem all across the United States. Even if you reside in a city like Portland or Denver, where the tap water is considered to be clean, lead still can leach into the drinking water supply because of old pipes.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, no amount of lead in drinking water is safe. So, if you’re in the market for a countertop filtration device, first, you need to check for its efficiency against lead.
Fortunately, all the products on our list can remove lead with success levels of up to 99.9%. But, not all of them are equally effective against other types of contaminants. For example, if you want to remove fluoride from your drinking water with the Big Berkey, you must pay for an extra fluoride filter.
That being said, the Big Berkey still remains the best countertop filter on the market when it comes to the number of removed contaminants. Independent tests conducted in EPA-certified labs show that it can remove 203 contaminants, including all pathogens, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides.
The Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Filter, on the other hand, doesn’t have any performance data sheet that we could lay our hands on, but the performance feedback we got from other users makes it a worthy addition to this list.
|Countertop Water Filter||Contaminants Removed|
|AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System||82|
|Big Berkey Water Filter||203|
|Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Filter||Not specified|
|Aquasana Claryum Countertop Filter||77|
The National Sanitation Foundation is a non-profit organization that ensures that manufacturers comply with certain standards and don’t put customers at health risks with their products. To that end, they certify goods based on independent tests carried out by certified laboratories.
Any industry in which products can have a health impact, from the automotive industry to food-related enterprises, can receive certifications from the NSF. Water treatment technologies are not exempt from this.
They are tested and certified to instill trust in the consumer body on whether they are made from materials that are free of contaminants and related risks, and whether they can successfully remove the contaminants they claim to remove.
Needless to say, drinking water is maybe the most crucial aspect of our lives, and we should do our best to ensure that the water we get and how we get it doesn’t bear any risks. So, it’s best to stick with products that hold relevant NSF certifications. These certifications for countertop filters are:
- NSF/ANSI 42: There are basically three types of contaminants: aesthetic impurities, contaminants that might affect health, and emerging contaminants (a.k.a., contaminants of emerging concern). The NSF 42 certification ensures that the water treatment product in question is capable of removing or at least reducing aesthetic impurities. These aesthetic impurities pose no health hazards, but they might change the color, odor, and taste of water and are regulated under the National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations by EPA.
- NSF/ANSI 53: The NSF 53 complements the NSF 42 by ensuring that the water treatment system is able to reduce contaminants that have health effects. The standard for these health effects is determined by the EPA-set National Primary Drinking Water Regulations in the case of the United States and Health Canada in the case of Canada. Most hazardous contaminants like lead, arsenic, asbestos, nitrates, and chromium fall under this category.
- NSF/ANSI 58: This particular certification only applies to reverse osmosis (RO) systems as it certifies that the reverse osmosis process is taking place as it should, with water pushed through a semipermeable membrane. Only the AquaTru unit on our list is applicable for the NSF 58 since it’s the only system that utilizes reverse osmosis.
- NSF/ANSI 401: The NSF 401 certification confirms that the water treatment device is capable of removing or reducing at least 15 emerging contaminants. Emerging contaminants are those that can’t be classified only as aesthetic impurities but that also aren’t regulated by EPA or Health Canada yet. We can say they are a new breed of chemicals that emerge as a result of pharmaceutical and agricultural products and waste.
- NSF/ANSI/CAN 372: The NSF 372 certification, which is also referred to as the NSF 61, but is actually an upgrade on that, is a testament that the components of a water treatment unit don’t feature lead. That said, no product on our list has this particular certification, but our analyses show that none of them has any lead parts either.
The product on our list that has all the relevant certifications apart from the NSF 372 happens to be the AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System. The Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Filter, however, doesn’t have any NSF certifications.
The Big Berkey is another product on our list that doesn’t have any certifications, but as we said in the previous section, an EPA-certified lab tested its efficiency, and the results far exceeded the standards set by the NSF 53 certification.
|Filters/Certifications||NSF 42||NSF 53||NSF 58||NSF 401||NSF 372|
|AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System||Certified||Certified||Certified||Certified||Not specified|
|Big Berkey Water Filter||Not specified||Not certified||Not applicable||Not specified||Not specified|
|Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Filter||Not specified||Not specified||Not applicable||Not specified||Not specified|
|Aquasana Claryum Countertop Filter||Certified||Certified||Not applicable||Certified||Not specified|
Filtration technology simply indicates how a certain water treatment unit removes or reduces contaminants. However, it’s not a fixed category since some units might feature several filters that are efficient at removing different sorts of contaminants.
That’s the case with the filtration systems we’re going to review in a short while. All of them employ different filtration technologies that are effective for different purposes.
For example, our #1 product, the AquaTru Countertop, employs reverse osmosis technology. This technology entails a semipermeable membrane with microscopic pores that don’t allow even the smallest contaminant particles to pass through. It’s also complemented by sediment pre-filters and an activated carbon one.
The Nu Aqua option, on the other hand, has eight different filters that all have their functions within the system (we’re going to explain this in detail during our review). It also has a remineralizer that adds the healthy minerals removed during the filtration process back into the water.
The most impressive of them all, though, are the unique carbon composite Black Berkey Filters that are also referred to as Black Berkey Elements. These EPA- and FDA-approved filters can remove an unprecedented number of contaminants for a carbon filter: 203.
|Countertop Water Filter||Filtration Technology|
|AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System||Pre-filters + reverse osmosis + activated carbon|
|Big Berkey Water Filter||Black Berkey Filters|
|Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Filter||8-stage filtration with a remineralizer|
|Aquasana Claryum Countertop Filter||Aquasana’s own patented Claryum filter|
Flow Rate / Water Capacity
It’s difficult to compare and contrast countertop water filtration devices in terms of their filtration capacity or flow rate because not all of them are installed the same way.
Some are connected directly to the faucet, which means that this type of device will filter water on demand. This will affect the flow rate of water that’s coming out of your faucet. For filters like these that are directly connected to the faucet, the flow rate is an important aspect that directly correlates with their filtration capacity.
Other countertop filters, on the other hand, have water tanks, which filter water before you demand it. When you’re on the market for a countertop filter with its own tank, you should heed how much water it can hold.
The Nu Aqua 8-Stage Filter and the Aquasana Claryum Filter are directly connected to the faucets and have the following flow rate:
|Countertop Water Filter||Flow Rate|
|Nu Aqua 8-Stage Filter||0.75 gallons per minute|
|Aquasana Claryum Filter||0.50 gallons per minute|
The AquaTru and Big Berkey systems, however, have their own water reservoirs and spigots, so you’ll always have access to purified water as long as there’s enough water in their tanks. The water capacity of their tanks is:
|Countertop Water Filter||Water Capacity|
|AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System||0.75 gallons|
|Big Berkey Water Filter||2.25 gallons|
Ease of Installation
Whole house filtration systems are also often referred to as point-of-entry (POE) systems since they’re installed on the main pipe that provides water for the whole household. Usually, their installation requires someone with plumbing experience and knowledge.
Fortunately, there’s no such ordeal with countertop filtration devices. These devices are point-of-use systems, meaning that they only need to be connected to the faucet you’re using to get drinking water, so a professional plumber is not needed to install them.
That being said, not all countertop water filtration units share a similar installation process. For instance, the AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet too.
But all in all, plugging in a device isn’t really difficult, so we can conclude that the installation of all these devices is indeed DIY-friendly.
|Countertop Water Filter||Ease of Installation|
|AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System||DIY-friendly|
|Big Berkey Water Filter||DIY-friendly|
|Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Filter||DIY-friendly|
|Aquasana Claryum Countertop Filter||DIY-friendly|
There are lots of different filters in countertop filtration systems, and these filters need to be changed every once in a while, depending on how much use they get.
More often than not, the manufacturers specify the expected lifespan of each filter their system has and offer replacement programs designed to reduce your expenses in the long term. Still, it’s important to learn how long a filter will last before making a purchase.
Typically, almost all the filters in a countertop filtration device warrant a replacement at the same time. An average system on the market will require filter replacements once it filters 500-700 gallons of water.
However, the Big Berkey is an exception to that soft rule. A Black Berkey Filter is designed to last for at least 3,000 gallons of water. Considering that the Big Berkey comes only with two-filter and four-filter options, its lifespan is either double or quadruple that number: 6,000 or 12,000 gallons.
|Countertop Water Filter||Filter Replacement Frequency (in Gallons of Filtered Water)|
|AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System||Once in 500 to 600 gallons|
|Big Berkey Water Filter||Once in 6,000 gallons for the 2-filter option, once in 12,000 gallons for the 4-filter one|
|Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Filter||700 gallons|
|Aquasana Claryum Countertop Filter||450 gallons|
Warranty is one of the most important aspects of any kind of product, simply because it gives you an idea of how reliable the product you’re purchasing is. Additionally, it indicates when the product is going to start costing you more than you signed up for, with unexpected breakdowns and the costs of repair and component replacements.
In that sense, the Big Berkey is the high-end option since it comes with a lifetime warranty.
However, the same can’t be said for the AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System or the Aquasana Claryum Countertop Filter. Both hold only a year of warranty, which is quite humble compared to the Big Berkey.
|Countertop Water Filter||Warranty|
|AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System||1 year|
|Big Berkey Water Filter||Lifetime|
|Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Filter||5 years|
|Aquasana Claryum Countertop Filter||1 year|
An average countertop water filtration device will typically cost anywhere between $100 and $500. The price range of the units on our list is a bit wider than that: $76 to $527.
The most affordable option we included is the Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Filter, which only costs $76.96 dollars at the time of writing this article. The most expensive option is the AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System, for $449.
Should you opt for the two-filter option of the Big Berkey, you’ll pay a reasonable sum of $367. However, if you want to serve purified water to more people or want your filters to last longer with a four-filter setup, you need $527.
|Countertop Water Filter||Price|
|AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System||$449.00|
|Big Berkey Water Filter||Two-filter: $367 / Four-filter: $527|
|Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Filter||$76.96|
|Aquasana Claryum Countertop Filter||$90.99|
Important: Please note that these prices were listed as of November 2022 and they’re subject to changes over time.
Best Countertop Water Filters Reviews
Now that you know how to evaluate a countertop water filtration system, we’ll provide you with in-depth analyses of the four best systems currently on the market.
AquaTru Reverse Osmosis System – The Best Reverse Osmosis Countertop Filter
- Filtration technology: Reverse osmosis with two pre-filters and one post-filter
- Contaminants removed: 82
- Size: Length: 14”; Width: 14”; Height: 12”
- NSF Certifications: NSF/ANSI Standard 42, 53, 58, and 401
- Highly efficient RO membrane
- Compact and slick design
- Easy installation
- Features a separable water reservoir
- Only 1-year warranty
- Made of plastic
- Expensive unit
The AquaTru Reverse Osmosis System is easily our favorite countertop filtration unit since it utilizes reverse osmosis technology with great efficiency.
Reverse osmosis isn’t the only way it filters water either. Before the water reaches the semipermeable RO membrane, it has to pass through two different pre-filters: mechanical pre-filter and activated carbon pre-filter. And after the RO process, the water goes through an activated coconut shell carbon filter.
So, the AquaTru countertop system has a highly efficient 4-stage filtration:
- Mechanical pre-filter: It removes contaminants that have big particles, and that might affect the functionality of the succeeding filters. These can be sediment, mud, clay, algae, and turbidity.
- Activated carbon pre-filter: Activated carbon reduces disinfectants like chlorine and chloramines, lifting the strain off the RO membrane greatly.
- RO membrane: The ultra-efficient membrane of the AquaTru is highly effective against many problematic inorganic contaminants like lead, copper, hexavalent chromium (a.k.a. chromium 6), barium, radium, and total dissolved solids. You can examine the full list of contaminants it reduces and how much it reduces them on the product page. This list is provided by an independent lab and the product is NSF-certified.
- Activated coconut shell carbon VOC filter: In water filtration, there’s always the risk of minuscule and organic contaminants making their way unscathed through a unit’s RO membranes. That’s especially the case for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). That’s why AquaTru embellished their countertop filtration unit with an activated coconut shell carbon as the last line of defense against VOCs.
More often than not, countertop filters need to be connected to a faucet, but that’s not the case with the AquaTru system, as it has two different storage tanks for tap water (3 gallons) and filtered water (1 gallon). So long as the tap water tank has water inside, it’ll provide you with filtered water without you turning on your faucet.
If you’re afraid that all these high-end filters and the two tanks will take up too much space on your counter, you shouldn’t be. The unit is quite compact, with a 14-inch (length) X 14-inch (width) X 12-inch (height) design and weighing only 23 pounds. It might not be as portable as a handbag, but it’s more than portable for a filtration unit of this caliber.
Its water storage unit that holds already-filtered water is detachable from the rest of the unit. So, when it’s full, you can detach it and put it in the fridge to have purified cold water ready on demand.
The AquaTru is easy to install too. You just need to unpack it, put the filters inside the device by simply twisting them in (always consult the instruction manual), plug the device into a 120-volt wall plug, and switch it on. In about 10 minutes, you’ll have a gallon of purified drinking water.
This countertop filter has a slick design that looks well on a counter, but that’s not the only good thing about how it’s designed. Its digital display lets you know when the time to replace filters is closing. The frequency of filter replacement depends on your use, but it’s likely to be once every six months.
That being said, replacing the filters at this pace will add to the device’s costs over time. These costs are not negligible, especially considering that the AquaTru is already one of the most expensive countertop units on the market, and it only has a 1-year warranty.
And lastly, although it’s a high-quality device, the fact that the AquaTru is made of plastic sorely disappointed us.
Big Berkey Water Filter – The Countertop Filter That Removes the Most Contaminants
- Filtration technology: Black Berkey Filter Elements
- Contaminants removed: 203
- Size: Length 8.5” x Width 8.5” x Height 21”
- NSF Certifications: Not certified
- An impressive number of removed contaminants: 203
- Filters that have an amazing blend of different filtration techniques
- Durable and low-maintenance water filters
- Huge water capacity with 2.25 gallons
- Made of stainless steel
- The filtration process takes more than two hours
- Plastic spigot
The Big Berkey Water Filter has impressed us with its extreme efficiency in terms of the most basic water filter function: it removes or reduces 203 contaminants from 2.25 gallons of water in only a couple of hours.
Furthermore, for an incredibly efficient filtration unit, it has unprecedentedly long-lasting filters, with 6k gallons for the 2-filter setup and 12k gallons for the 4-filter one.
The impressive number of removed contaminants and the device’s durability are thanks to the Black Berkey Filter Elements. Although these filters don’t hold an NSF certification, they were still independently tested in an EPA-certified laboratory.
So, what are these so-called elements? Well, they’re carbon composite filters containing high-quality coconut shells. But that’s not all, as the filters combine many different water-treating techniques.
Whereas other filtration systems require different filters for each filtration technique, the Black Berkey Elements take care of it in one single filter design. The filtration methods that the water is subjected to in the Big Berkey are:
- Microfiltration: There are six different filter media featured in a Black Berkey filter. The construction of these media forms a complex and compact matrix of microscopic pores that don’t allow many pollutants to make their way through. The manufacturer refers to this matrix as a “tortuous path for contaminants” simply because no bacteria, parasite, or cyst can reach the end.
- Absorption: Of course, no matter how small the pore size of a filter is, there are still certain small molecules that can pass through the pores. That’s especially the case with heavy metal ions. To that end, the Black Berkey Elements employ absorption media in which these ions are attracted, absorbed, and permanently trapped in a filter.
- Adsorption: Many viruses are even smaller than the smallest pore size. The Black Berkey Elements create an ionic barrier that pulls viral organisms by their electrostatic charge. In the end, these organisms end up on the adsorptive walls of the media. The ability to remove these viruses so effectively makes the Big Berkey a water purifier, which is one step above a standard water filter.
- Exposure time: Exposure time is quite a significant aspect of water filtration simply because the more the water spends time with a filter, the more thoroughly the filter can treat it. Although this is not really a filtration method, the Big Berkey subjects water to more exposure time than its peers due to its gravity flow, in which the water moves very slowly from the top of the device to the treated water chamber at the bottom.
The Big Berkey is also one of the market’s most capacitive countertop water filters, as it can hold 2.25 gallons of water. However, when you combine the amount of water it holds with the exposure time it has, it takes more than two hours to filter all that water.
Considering that the two upcoming products on our list can provide filtered water directly from your faucet whenever you demand it, that’s a slight downside.
Moreover, although its body is stainless steel, the Big Berkey has a plastic spigot, which doesn’t really suit such a high-end product. And lastly, despite their efficiency and versatility, the Big Berkey Elements can’t remove or reduce fluoride. You might have to pay an extra $80 to purchase special fluoride filters.
Nu Aqua 8-Stage Alkaline Mineral Countertop Water Filter – A Budget-Friendly Option That Produces Pure Water Straight Out of the Faucet
- Filtration technology: 8-stage filtration
- Contaminants removed: Not specified
- Size: Length 5.7” x Width 5.5” x Height 13”
- NSF Certifications: Not certified
- It can produce water on demand
- It adds healthy minerals back into the water
- It has a flow rate of 0.75 gallons per minute
- Compact design that saves space on the counter
- No NSF certification or independent lab results for removed contaminants
- Filters don’t last long
The two countertop filtration devices we’ve reviewed so far, the AquaTru RO system and the Big Berkey, have their own water reservoirs, so you don’t need to connect them to your faucet. On the other hand, the Nu Aqua is a faucet filter, and it can provide clean water on demand with a staggering flow rate of 0.75 gallons per minute.
What’s better is that it doesn’t only remove many harmful contaminants like bacteria, heavy metals, and pesticides, but it also adds the healthy minerals that might have been lost in the filtration process back into the water. The state-of-the-art filtration of the Nu Aqua Countertop Water Filter takes place in eight stages:
- The first mesh filter: Blocks large particles like dirt, sediment, and algae from entering the filtration system and reaching your drinking water supply.
- KDF filter media: KDF stands for Kinetic Degradation Fluxion, a chemical process in which the electrons of certain molecules are reduced by oxidation by a high-density and high-purity copper and zinc alloy. Thanks to the KDF media, the Nu Aqua filter reduces the presence of many contaminants, including heavy metals, chlorine, and rust. It also kills fungi and algae and prevents bacterial growth inside the filtration system.
- AG+ nano-silver antibacterial fiber: There’s always a chance that some living organisms like bacteria, fungi, or algae can resist the KDF filter media. That’s where the AG+ fiber enters the picture to take care of the remainder.
- Activated carbon coconut shell: We said that the KDF filter reduces many contaminants, but it’s not the main line of defense. That responsibility is on the activated carbon coconut shell that removes many chemicals from the water and improves its aesthetic properties like taste, odor, and color.
- Red mineral stone: More often than not, the KDF process removes the molecules of healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium from the water. The red mineral stone adds them back.
- White bio-ceramic balls: The manufacturer claims that the bio-ceramic balls ionize water molecules and that the water treated by them improves blood circulation. However, there’s no medicinal research on the subject.
- Gray oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) ceramic balls: Unlike bio-ceramic balls, gray ORP balls have a more substantial purpose: balancing the pH of the filtered water by producing more hydrogen and turning acid into a base. Thus, it also adds healthy minerals back into the water.
- The second mesh filter: It ensures that large particles, mostly the mineral balls and stones mentioned in the three preceding stages, remain inside the filtration system.
Despite the complicated filtration process, the Nu Aqua is also compact so that it can fit any counter, and it’s very straightforward to install. The product package features a faucet adapter that you only need to screw into your drinking water faucet.
That being said, it’s not an NSF-certified filter, and unlike the other system on our list, the manufacturer doesn’t provide a list of removed contaminants as tested by an independent lab. Moreover, the 8-stage system will only last 4 to 6 months, depending on your usage, and you’ll need to replace it more constantly than you would the previous systems we reviewed.
However, considering that it’s also the most affordable unit on our list, the Nu Aqua might still be worth more than what you pay.
Aquasana Claryum Countertop Water Filter – A Tiny Device That Instantly Transforms Your Tap Water
- Filtration technology: Claryum technology
- Contaminants removed: 77
- Size: Length 9” x Width 4” x Height 9.5”
- NSF Certifications: NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401
- Compact and easy on the eye
- The Claryum filtration technology is extremely efficient for such a small device
- Certified by the NSF
- 0.50 GPM flow rate and 450 gallons filter capacity are a bit modest
- One-year warranty
The Aquasana Claryum Countertop Water Filter stood out from the rest of the water filtration devices we have come across so far because it’s so easy on the eye. Most filtration units are either bulky or have a lot going on in terms of design, but this one is a minimal-looking white box.
Despite that, its contaminant-removing properties are not as vague as with the Nu Aqua. It has three NSF/ANSI certifications with 42, 53, and 401, which means that the device can remove aesthetic impurities, contaminants that pose a health threat, and emerging contaminants. The manufacturer provides a performance data sheet in which it’s documented that it can reduce 77 contaminants with a 99% success rate.
The contaminants it removes include hazardous ones like lead, asbestos, mercury, PFOA/PFOSs (perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate), herbicides, and pesticides. It can also reduce aesthetic impurities like taste, odor, and color.
How does it do that? Well, thanks to Aquasana’s own patented filtration technology, that’s referred to as Claryum. Similar to the Black Berkey Elements (albeit fairly less effective), it’s a filtration system that brings together different methods in one filter:
- Standard activated carbon filtration: It reduces chemicals like chlorine and chloramines, volatile organic compounds, sediment, and some heavy metals by trapping them in its carbon media.
- Catalytic carbon filtration: Catalytic carbon focuses more on aesthetic impurities like chlorines, chloramines, and hydrogen sulfide. If your water has a rotten egg smell, then you have a hydrogen sulfide problem, and the Aquasana Claryum might be the system you’re looking for since it stands out from the rest of the products on our list by its inclusion of catalytic carbon media.
- Absorption: Like the Black Berkey Elements, the Claryum utilizes absorption media to trap problematic molecules.
- Sub-micron filtration: As the last line of defense, the Aquasana Claryum employs a filter with minute-sized pores so that even small contaminant particles can’t reach your drinking water.
Unlike the Nu Aqua system, the Aquasana Claryum doesn’t have a faucet adapter. Instead, it employs a converter and a two-way hose. That way, it draws the water from the faucet, treats it, and sends it back so that you can directly have it from the faucet.
As far as countertop water filters go, it’s also one of the most compact devices, which is a big plus, especially when you already have a crowded counter.
However, its flow rate of 0.5 GPM pales compared with the 0.75 GPM of the Nu Aqua. Furthermore, its filter capacity is only 450 gallons, so you’ll need to buy replacement filters once every 3 to 4 months.
Lastly, although it only has a one-year warranty, the trust that the NSF certifications inspire, its efficiency and compactness, and its affordability might make it a worthwhile investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Countertop Water Filter Removes the Most Contaminants?
The Big Berkey Water Filter removes the most contaminants. Thanks to its innovative Black Berkey Filter Elements, it can remove or reduce 203 different contaminants from water as independently tested by EPA-certified labs.
The Black Berkey Filter Elements blend different filtration methods like microfiltration, absorption, and adsorption in one filter design. In addition, water spends more time exposed to the Berkey filters than with any other countertop device.
Of course, this means that the filtration process is exceptionally long, as it takes more than 2 hours for 2.25 gallons of water, but the end result is surely worth it.
What Is the Average Price Range of Countertop Water Filtration Devices?
The average price range of a countertop water filter ultimately depends on the filtration technology it utilizes. A countertop reverse osmosis system is much pricier than an activated carbon filter, no matter how innovative the latter is.
In that sense, we’re finding it difficult to provide you with an exact average number. Depending on what you’re looking for, you may end up paying $70 or more than $500 for a unit.
That being established, the products we have reviewed have a price range of $76 to $527.
The high-end devices that have their own water reservoirs and that employ unique filtration processes, the AquaTru RO system, and the Big Berkey, are on the expensive side of that range. The faucet filters, the Nu Aqua and the Aquasana Claryum, on the other hand, are extremely affordable.
With both, the frequency of filter replacement requirements and the length of warranty might also affect their cost in the long run.
What Does Installing a Countertop Water Filter Require?
To install a countertop filtration unit, you need to plug in the device or connect it to a faucet.
Depending on the manufacturer, you might need a basic tool like a wrench, but you don’t necessarily need to call a professional plumber to install it.
What Is the Average Lifespan of a Countertop Water Filter?
The average lifespan of a countertop water filtration unit depends on several factors, including how good the brand is, whether the device features any electronic parts, and what the device is made of.
For example, the Big Berkey Water Filter doesn’t feature any electronics, and it’s made of stainless steel with the exception of its plastic spigot. So, barring occasional spigot replacements, you may expect it to serve you and your family for more than twenty years.
The AquaTru Countertop RO System, on the other hand, features many plastic and electronic parts. Worse, its warranty runs for only one year. So, while you can prolong your device’s life if you keep it well-maintained, it’s likely to start causing problems for you and your budget sooner rather than later.
That being said, the filter replacement frequency is also an important aspect when it comes to countertop filtration devices. Should you ignore the replacement needs of a device, the trapped contaminants will soon start to leak into the system and your drinking water supply, reducing the efficiency of the system and even causing it to stop functioning altogether.
So, it’s best to heed the advice of the manufacturer and replace filters based on their recommendations.
Which Countertop Water Filter Brands Are the Best?
Our favorite countertop water filter brands are obviously the ones whose products we included in our list:
- AquaTru: AquaTru is a company that’s passionate about delivering results when it comes to filtered water. To that end, they work closely with scientists, and they always base their product specifications on scientific research. That’s also why they’re not reluctant to have their filtration devices tested by independent labs and certified by the NSF.
- Berkey Filters: Berkey Filters is one of the most popular and trusted brands when it comes to countertop filtration. Their products are high-quality and they employ innovative technologies in the making of their filters. Moreover, their customer service is quite responsive.
- Nu Aqua: Founded in 2007, Nu Aqua aims to deliver health in terms of two vital elements: water and air. And it’s fair to say that they deliver. All the mineral balls they thought to include in their countertop system are a testament to that.
- Aquasana: Based in Austin, Texas, Aquasana believes that everyone has the right to clean water. Even better, they manufacture their products in a sustainable fashion by mostly using recyclable products. We like them because they have their products independently tested and certified. They’re also open to innovation as their own Claryum tech proves.
When it comes to evaluating countertop devices, the compactness of the device and how much water it can filter in a given period are almost as important as the number of contaminants it can remove and whether it’s NSF-certified.
In that sense, the AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System wins the competition – it’s compact, it removes lots of contaminants thanks to its 4-stage filtration process, and it has a filtered water capacity of one gallon. However, if you’re looking for the most efficient system on the market, there’s none better than the Big Berkey, which can remove a staggering number of 203 contaminants.
On the other hand, if you want your countertop filter to provide on-demand water, the Nu Aqua system or the Aquasana Claryum Filter are both great options. While the former has the advantage of a higher flow rate and it remineralizes the water, the latter holds all the relevant NSF certifications.