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6 Best Water Filters for Lead Removal in 2023

Scott Winfield
Last Updated on
by Scott Winfield

Lead, a hazardous heavy metal, is one of the most common water contaminants in the United States. So, most americans sought for ways to remove lead from water, which usually requires purchasing a lead water filter.

The best lead water filter in 2023 is the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher. It uses affinity filtration to reduce lead in water by a minimum of 99.3% water.

Lead Water Filters Comparison Chart

Lead Water Filters
Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher
Water Pitcher for Lead
  • Filtration technology: Affinity Filtration
  • Filter type: Water filter pitcher
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 99.3%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: 365+
  • Filtered Water Capacity: 10 cups (80oz)
  • NSF 53 certification: Certified
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Aquasana OptimH2O Reverse Osmosis
  • Filtration technology: Reverse osmosis and Claryum
  • Filter type: Under-the-sink unit
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 99.3%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: 88+
  • Filtration capacity: 13.32 gallons per day (GPD)
  • NSF 53 certification: Certified
  • Warranty: 2 years
Epic Smart Shield
Under Sink Filter for Lead
  • Filtration technology: Proprietary blend of different filtration media
  • Filter type: Under-the-sink unit
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 99.3%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: 70+
  • Filtration capacity: 651 gallons
  • NSF 53 certification: Certified
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Aquasana Claryum Countertop
Countertop Filter for Lead
  • Filtration technology: Proprietary blend of different filtration media
  • Filter type: Countertop device
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 99.3%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: 77+
  • Filtration capacity: 0.50 gallons per minute (GPM)
  • NSF 53 certification: Certified
  • Warranty: One year
Pur Faucet Filtration System
Faucet filter for Lead
  • Filtration technology: Activated carbon block and ion exchange media
  • Filter type: Faucet filter
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 98.7%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: 70+
  • Filtration capacity: 100 gallons of filtered water per filter
  • NSF 53 certification: Certified
  • Warranty: 2 years
SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Filtration System
  • Filtration technology: 0-5-micron filtration and adsorbent media
  • Filter type: Whole house water filter
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 99%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: Not provided by the manufacturer
  • Filtration capacity: 8 GPM
  • NSF 53 certification: Not certified
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty

List of Water Filters for Lead

  1. Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher
  2. Aquasana OptimH2O Reverse Osmosis + Claryum System
  3. Epic Smart Shield
  4. Aquasana Claryum Countertop
  5. Pur Faucet Filtration System
  6. SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Filtration System

Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher for Lead

Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher
  • Filtration technology: Affinity Filtration
  • Filter type: Water filter pitcher
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 99.3%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: 365+
  • Filtered Water Capacity: 10 cups (80oz)
  • NSF 53 certification: Certified
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Pros
  • The twisted structure of the Affinity Filtration tech ensures thorough lead filtration
  • Adsorptive media attracts and traps lead ions with great success
  • Reduces 365+ other contaminants
  • Doesn’t reduce healthy minerals
  • Long-lasting filter
  • NSF-certified
  • Made in USA
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Expensive for a water pitcher
  • Its replacement filters are costly, too

We have hailed the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher as the best product in its category in many aspects, and it’s one of the most trusted water pitchers in the country. One of the main reasons for its stellar reputation is its remarkable effectiveness against dangerous contaminants like lead.

The Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher comes with an impressive performance datasheet holding all the relevant NSF certifications: 42, 53 (the specific certification applying to lead claims), 401 & 473. In addition, its datasheet shows it reduces lead in water by at least 99.3%, along with 365+ other contaminants.

Its ability to reduce a high number of contaminants, including lead, is down to the filter’s unique Affinity Filtration technology. This technology blends many different filtration media in one single cartridge.

The Clearly Filtered engineers placed all these filtration media inside the cartridge to form a path full of twists and turns for the incoming water. This ensures that contaminant molecules like lead come into contact with at least one of the filtration media on their way.

In addition, the walls of the path contain adsorptive media that targets and traps heavy metals with an ionic structure. As lead has an ionic structure, the adsorption technique of the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher traps its molecules successfully.

Besides its efficiency in removing lead and many other impurities, the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher doesn’t remove healthy minerals from the water, unlike most reverse osmosis (RO) systems.

Also, its four-month lifespan makes it one of the most durable water pitchers on the market.

The device is made in the United States and comes with a lifetime warranty.

That being said, the unit is one of the most expensive water pitchers you’ll encounter. Its replacement filters aren’t cheap either, but let us assure you, the performance you’ll get from it is worth it.


Aquasana OptimH2O Reverse Osmosis System for Lead

Aquasana OptimH2O Reverse Osmosis
  • Filtration technology: Reverse osmosis and Claryum
  • Filter type: Under-the-sink unit
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 99.3%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: 88+
  • Filtration capacity: 13.32 gallons per day (GPD)
  • NSF 53 certification: Certified
  • Warranty: 2 years
Pros
  • Reverse osmosis is effective against lead
  • Aquasana’s Claryum technology achieves a 99.3% lead removal
  • Removes 88+ contaminants
  • Holds all the relevant NSF certifications
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Removes healthy minerals
  • Wastes water
  • The manufacturer offers only two years of warranty
  • Difficult to install (especially compared to other products on our list)

Reverse osmosis is a frequently employed technology for removing lead. In this competitive category, the Aquasana OptimH2O emerges as one of the best and most affordable reverse osmosis units for handling lead with a 99.3% success rate.

RO is a method in which the filtration equipment pushes the unfiltered water through a semipermeable membrane with microscopic pores. These pores are often too tiny for heavy metal molecules like lead to pass through, so they don’t end up at your faucet.

The Aquasana OptimH2O owes its success to its own patented Claryum technology more than to the reverse osmosis method.

The Claryum technology is similar to the Affinity Filtration of Clearly Filtered in that it blends different water treatment techniques, such as carbon block, catalytic carbon media, sub-micron filtration, and ion exchange, in one filter cartridge. The ion exchange technique stands out in particular when it comes to tackling lead because this contaminant has ionic structure.

The combination of RO and Claryum is how the unit achieves such great numbers in removing lead. It’s also certified with NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, 58, and 401 and comes with a performance data sheet listing 87 other impurities it tackles alongside lead.

However, being a reverse osmosis system means that Aquasana OptimH2O also removes healthy minerals from water. The manufacturer claims its product features a state-of-the-art remineralizer, but no data, analysis, or research proves these remineralizers work.

Additionally, reverse osmosis systems waste water during filtration, and the 4:1 wastewater to filtered water ratio of the Aquasana OptimH2O is among the highest in the niche.

Unlike Clearly Filtered, the device only has a two-year warranty, which is underwhelming, considering it’s a complicated 3-cartridge system with its own faucet.

Lastly, you’ll probably need to call a professional to install it.


Epic Smart Shield

Epic Smart Shield
  • Filtration technology: Proprietary blend of different filtration media
  • Filter type: Under-the-sink unit
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 99.3%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: 70+
  • Filtration capacity: 651 gallons
  • NSF 53 certification: Certified
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Pros
  • Unique treatment tech removes lead by at least 99.3%
  • Doesn’t rely on reverse osmosis
  • Removes 70+ other contaminants
  • Affordable
  • Eco-friendly
  • Portable
  • Easy to install
  • NSF-certified
  • Made in USA
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Not compatible with well water
  • Doesn’t have a sediment filter
  • Costly replacement filters

If you want to remove lead with an under-the-sink item but don’t want to suffer from the adverse effects of reverse osmosis, we present the Epic Smart Shield unit made in the US.

It’s more affordable than even the most affordable reverse osmosis units, eco-friendly, portable, easy to install, and most importantly, it shares the same lead removal number with the best reverse osmosis systems on the market: at least 99.3%.

In a similar way to the Claryum tech of Aquasana and the Affinity Filtration of Clearly Filtered, Epic Smart Shield uses a proprietary blend of different water treatment techniques in a single cartridge setup. Even though the manufacturer discloses only activated carbon coconut block among its many techniques, it’s fair to assume that the blend also employs adsorptive media for lead removal since activated carbon isn’t enough to reach such high numbers.

How can we be sure it reaches those numbers? Like the two products we have reviewed so far, an independent lab has confirmed this tiny device is in line with NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53 & 401. It has also provided a performance data sheet that supports the lead removal claims of the manufacturer.

In addition to lead, Epic Smart Shield removes 70+ other contaminants.

Were you bummed because Aquasana OptimH2O wasn’t eco-friendly? Then, you’ll be happy to hear that the Epic Smart Shield doesn’t waste water. Even better, it’s made from sustainable and recyclable materials, and the manufacturer runs its own recycling program to reduce waste.

While that’s great, Epic Smart Shield isn’t compatible with well water. One of the reasons why is that it doesn’t feature a sediment filter. So, if you depend on a well for your water supply, this is not your best choice.

On a final note, the unit is affordable, but its replacement filters cost almost as much as the device itself.


Aquasana Claryum Countertop

Aquasana Claryum Countertop
  • Filtration technology: Proprietary blend of different filtration media
  • Filter type: Countertop device
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 99.3%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: 77+
  • Filtration capacity: 0.50 gallons per minute (GPM)
  • NSF 53 certification: Certified
  • Warranty: One year
  • Price: $90.99
Pros
  • Great lead removal rate thanks to the Claryum technology
  • Removes 77+ other contaminants
  • NSF-certified
  • Compact
  • Easy to install and maintain
Cons
  • Only one year of warranty
  • A 0.50 GPM flow rate isn’t ideal for crowded families

The tiny Aquasana Claryum Countertop device relies solely on the Claryum tech for lead removal. Still, with a lead reduction of 99.3%, its performance is the same as its under-the-sink sibling, the Aquasana OptimH20 RO.

As we detailed above, the Claryum technology engages different filtration techniques. These include activated and catalytic types of carbon media, sub-micron filtration, and ion exchange.

Thanks to its remarkable ion exchange properties, not only does the Aquasana Claryum perform impressively when it comes to lead removal, but it also successfully deals with 77+ other contaminants, despite its unpretentious appearance. Check out the product’s online performance data sheet provided by an independent lab that certified it with NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, and 401 if you want to learn more.

More often than not, countertop filtration devices such as Big Berkey or AquaTru take up too much space. So, people already short on counter space opt for under-the-sink units even though they want a countertop device. Fortunately, you won’t have this problem with Aquasana Claryum, as it’s a tiny unit that won’t get in your way when you’re cooking or doing the dishes.

Unlike Aquasana OptimH2O, the Claryum model doesn’t require special tools or plumbing knowledge to install. Instead, it just connects to the open end of your faucet, and you can uninstall it quite easily, too, if need be.

However, its warranty option is even worse than the Aquasana OptimH2O. The one-year warranty is modest when you consider the lifetime warranties of the Clearly Filtered and Epic devices.

Additionally, Aquasana Claryum produces only half a gallon of filtered water per minute. If you have a big family with high drinking water needs, the device’s flow rate may become a problem.


Pur Faucet Filtration System

Pur Faucet Filtration System
  • Filtration technology: Activated carbon block and ion exchange media
  • Filter type: Faucet filter
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 98.7%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: 70+
  • Filtration capacity: 100 gallons of filtered water per filter
  • NSF 53 certification: Certified
  • Warranty: 2 years
Pros
  • Its 98.7% lead removal rate is the best in its category
  • Employs ion exchange for removing lead
  • Removes 70+ other contaminants
  • Extremely affordable
  • NSF-certified
  • Easy to install
  • Compact
Cons
  • 100-gallon filter lifespan means frequent filter replacements
  • Only two years of warranty

Lead doesn’t pose a health risk unless it’s digested, so most people only want a filter for their drinking water faucet. If you’re one of them, the most logical purchase is a faucet filter, as they’re the most affordable filtration technology on the market.

In that sense, the Pur Faucet Filtration System emerges as the most practical way to fight lead in your water with its low price tag of $34.99 and high lead removal rate of at least 98.7%.

Similar to the Affinity Filtration tech of Clearly Filtered, the Pur Genuine Filters included in the system subject the water to a long, twisted path. The filtration media inside include activated carbon for aesthetic impurities like chlorine, taste, odor, and color, and ion exchange for heavy metals like lead.

The device’s NSF-certified (42, 53, and 401) performance data sheet shows that it neutralizes more than 70 contaminants besides lead.

We said that Aquasana Claryum is very easy to install. Likewise, you just need to attach the Pur device to your faucet and that’s it.

In addition, it’s a faucet unit, so it doesn’t take up any space on your counter. In fact, we think it’s the most compact water filtration option you’ll find anywhere for removing lead.

Still, despite all its merits as a faucet filter, the Pur unit does have a few disadvantages.

First, the filter’s lifespan is only 100 gallons. For the average American family, this means that they’ll need to replace the filter at least once every two months. However, if you have a crowded household, it’ll be much more frequent than that, adding to the costs wildly in the long term.

Second, the manufacturer offers only two years of warranty for its faucet filter. Compared to what Clearly Filtered and Epic offer, such a warranty doesn’t inspire long-term trust.


SpringWell Whole-House Water Filter for Lead

SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Filtration System
  • Filtration technology: 0-5-micron filtration and adsorbent media
  • Filter type: Whole house water filter
  • Lead reduction rate: Minimum of 99%
  • The number of reduced contaminants: Not provided by the manufacturer
  • Filtration capacity: 8 GPM
  • NSF 53 certification: Not certified
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Pros
  • Innovative SpringWell technology is effective against lead
  • Removes cysts, PFOA, and PFAS as well
  • The system head notifies you of the filter replacement time
  • Made in USA
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • 8 GPM flow rate is a bit humble (especially when compared to other SpringWell whole-house models)
  • Doesn’t have an NSF certification or performance data sheet and is not third-party tested
  • Expensive

If you want to treat the water at all the faucets within your home, you’ll need a whole-house solution. The SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Filtration System made in the USA and featuring a lifetime warranty is your best choice.

When it comes to whole-house water treatment equipment, SpringWell is the most reliable brand in the United States. Its whole-house lead and cyst filtration system is not an exception to that rule, as it removes both particulate lead (a visible form of lead that looks like sediment to most) and soluble lead (an invisible form of lead) with great success, thanks to its innovative technology.

The SpringWell lead removal technology entails a 0.5-micron nominal filter that blocks lead particles and adsorbent media targeting the ions of soluble lead. The latter plays a significant role in the efficiency of the SpringWell unit by binding ionic lead in long-lasting bonds.

In addition to lead and cysts (parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium), the SpringWell model successfully handles dangerous chemicals such as PFOA and PFAS.

In the same vein as all the other SpringWell products, the lead and cyst system features an electronic system head. It notifies the user digitally when it’s time to replace the filter.

More often than not, SpringWell’s whole-house ensembles have industry-leading flow rate options. So, we were a bit disappointed with the 8 GPM flow rate of SpringWell’s lead unit, but it’s still an excellent number for 1-3 bathroom households.

Another criticism we can make is that while the brand uses certified components, it doesn’t have its products tested against NSF standards, nor does it provide a performance data sheet showcasing its lead removal capacity.

This doesn’t mean the product doesn’t do what the manufacturer claims it does. Positive customer feedback all over the internet and our experience are a testament to its efficiency. However, having some scientific backing to the manufacturer’s claims would still be nice.

Lastly, the fact that it’s a whole-house unit makes the SpringWell lead removal unit the most expensive item on our list at $1,554.98.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does lead contaminate my water?

Lead is a naturally occurring heavy metal that may end up in your water due to natural causes. Such causes include:
Surface water runoff: Rainwater picks up lead from the environment, which seeps through underground water sources or flows to surface water (like dams, lakes, and rivers) over time.
Aquifer in a lead-rich environment: Aquifers are underground water reservoirs that form over millennia. These reservoirs sit on top of soil or rocks. As some soil and rocks naturally contain lead, your water will also likely have lead if you dig a well on top of such aquifers.

However, this only applies to you if you depend on a private well for your water supply.
Municipal authorities treat their water sources rigorously before distributing the water to local households.

Yet, even in cities with some of the safest water in the United States, like Portland, Oregon, lead still threatens citizens’ well-being. That’s mainly because it leaches into water from the piping systems of houses built before 1986 when the EPA wasn’t legislating the use of lead in plumbing fixtures.

As replacing a whole piping system with a risk-free one costs up to $30,000 nowadays, it’s challenging to implement EPA regulations for everyone. As a result, lead remains a serious hazard to public health.

Lastly, lead presence in the public water supply can be a result of an oversight by municipal authorities, as was the case in Flint, where tens of thousands of people were exposed to lead-contaminated water.

What are the health implications associated with lead in drinking water?

Lead in drinking water has been associated with many health risks in adults and children.

In children, even lower levels of lead exposure may lead to:

Damage to the central and peripheral nervous system
Brain damage
Problems in physical and mental development
Behavioral issues
Hearing and speech impairment

In pregnant women, the risks of ingesting lead include:

Still or premature birth
Miscarriage
Preventing the growth of the fetus

In adults, the health implications of lead in drinking water are similarly severe:

Kidney, brain, and lung cancer
Kidney dysfunction
Memory loss

Because of the severity of the health risks associated with lead, it’s imperative to remove it from your water supply as soon as possible.

How do I test my water for lead?

Collecting a water sample from a faucet and sending it to an EPA-certified lab is the best way to learn whether lead is present in your water supply. Of course, it’s not free (varying between $25 and $400), and you’ll have to wait a few days to a few weeks to get the result. However, you’ll receive a detailed report listing all the contaminants in your water.
Should that list show a presence of lead, albeit in trace amounts, immediately take action.

If you suspect your water might contain lead, stop using it as drinking water, and stick to bottled spring water.

Should I purchase a water filter that removes lead?

You should immediately purchase a water filter if there’s lead in your water. As mentioned, there’s no safe lead level in drinking water according to the EPA. Also, considering the plethora of health risks associated with lead, getting a high-quality unit like the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher will be more than worth it if you can afford the investment.

Which water filter is the best for removing lead?

The water filters that have the best minimum lead reduction percentages are:

Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher: 99.3%
Aquasana OptimH2O: 99.3%
Epic Smart Shield: 99.3%
Aquasana Claryum: 99.3%

Consider your household’s needs, such as whether you have enough space on your counter or under your sink, before making a purchasing decision.

Which NSF certification is relevant to lead reduction?

The NSF certification that pertains to lead is the NSF Standard 53.

However, not all products that have an NSF 53 certification are necessarily effective against lead. Before finalizing a purchase, you should examine the performance data sheets of the product you want to buy, see whether it eliminates lead, and, if it does, check with what success rate.

Similarly, if a product is uncertified, it doesn’t mean it’s ineffective against lead. For instance, the SpringWell unit we reviewed is efficient at lead removal despite holding no NSF certifications.

If you’re suspicious of its performance, you can run your own independent water tests, one before installing the device and one after. If the product doesn’t work, you may claim your money back.

Conclusion

Due to old water pipe systems, lead is a serious drinking water problem in the United States. Considering the health implications of this heavy metal, it’s best to remove it from your drinking water.

To that end, the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher is an excellent option with its 99.3% lead reduction rate, lifetime warranty, and durable replacement filters.

If you want a reverse osmosis under-the-sink unit, Aquasana OptimH2O emerges as the best device in its category with its affordability and capacity to remove lead by at least 99.3%.

What if RO is not your cup of tea, and you’re looking for an affordable, compact, eco-friendly, and effective under-the-sink device? Then, Epic Smart Shield is all these things and shares the same lead removal capacity with the Clearly Filtered and Aquasana devices.

If a small countertop device does the job for you, Aquasana Claryum removes lead with a 99.3% success ratio.

We recommend the highly affordable Pure Faucet Filtration System for those on a budget. It costs only $34.99 and reduces lead by a minimum of 98.7%.

On the other hand, for those who don’t have a budget problem and want lead-free water everywhere in their household, the SpringWell Lead & Cyst Filtration System will work wonders.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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