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Buyer's Guide: Pitcher Water Filters

Water Pitchers

In This Buyer's Guide:

  1. Why should you buy a water filter pitcher?
  2. Top Pitcher filter brands
    1. Brita
    2. Mavea
    3. PUR
    4. 3M Filtrete Water Station
  3. Reasons to Buy a Water Pitcher Filter
  4. Reasons Not to Buy a Water Pitcher Filter
  5. Related Links

Why should you buy a water filter pitcher?

Water pitcher filters are among the most common methods of household water purification on the market today. They offer cold, filtered water at a fraction of the cost of bottled water, and without the environmental plastic waste and are simple to use. You just pour water from the tap into the top of the pitcher. The water travels down through a filter cartridge into the canister below. Filtered water pitchers can hold anywhere from 5 to 18 8-oz. glasses of filtered water and may be conveniently stored inside any refrigerator or displayed on a tabletop while entertaining guests. Many come with filter life indicators that let you know when it's time to change the filter. Each water filter cartridge lasts approximately 1-2 months (or 40 gallons), in most pitchers. Typically, these filters reduce bad taste and odor associated with chemicals like chlorine and its byproducts. In some cases, the more advanced filter cartridges may even remove other contaminants, such as microbiological cysts and pharmaceutical residues.

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Top Pitcher filter brands


With over 16 different styles to choose from, it's no wonder the Brita brand is so popular. Seven out of ten pitchers sold in the U.S. bear the Brita name. Each Brita pitcher filter reduces copper, chlorine taste and odor and mercury. Brita's smallest-sized pitcher is the "Slim" model, which holds up to five 8-oz. glasses of water and saves space inside your fridge (See Fig. 1). Brita's largest model, the "Ultramax" one-touch dispenser, is perfect for families and may be stored on any counter or refrigerator shelf (See Fig. 2). Like most water pitcher filters, Brita pitchers have a filter life of approximately 40 gallons and should be changed every1-2 months. The Brita smart pitchers have an electronic filter life indicator that lets you know when it's time to change the filter.

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 Brita Slim Water Pitcher                                                  Brita Ultramax Dispenser
Fig. 1: Brita Pitcher "Slim" Model                        Fig. 2: Brita "Ultramax" One-Touch Dispenser


Seven years after Brita sold the sole rights to it's brand to the Clorox company in 2000, the Mavea brand was launched by former Brita CEO, Markus Hankhammer. Mavea now proudly claims to be ahead of the game in terms of technology and design in the water filter pitcher market. The popular "Elemaris" pitcher is priced from $32 to $40, holds up to nine 8-oz. glasses of filtered water, and has a sleek design perfect for any tabletop (See Fig. 3). However, Mavea does not carry nearly as many styles or colors as the classic Brita brand, and may not be considered as affordable to many consumers. These pitchers reduce chlorine taste and odor, as well as mercury, cadmium, and particulates such as sediment, dirt, rust and limescale. Mavea water pitchers have a unique micromesh filter that prevents carbon fragments from escaping into the water. The Mavea MAXTRA replacement filter cartridges should be changed every 1-2 months.

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Mavea Elemaris Water Pitcher
Fig. 3: Mavea "Elemaris" Water Pitcher


PUR water pitchers are certified to reduce three times as many contaminants as the leading pitcher. The 2-stage water filter reduces sediment, as well as chlorine taste and odor, chlorination byproducts, microbiological cysts, lead, and agricultural and industrial pollutants. PUR carries three models: the PUR Filtered Water PitcherPUR Filtered Water Pitcher with LED light filter life indicator, (See Fig. 4) and the PUR Filtered Water Pitcher with Flavor Options (See Fig. 5). Each pitcher holds up to seven 8-oz. glasses of purified water, and the pitcher with Flavor Options allows you to add a splash of strawberry, raspberry, lemon or grape flavor to your water at the push of a button. The filter cartridge should be changed every 40 gallons or 1-2 months.

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PUR Water Pitcher with LED Light                                PUR Water Pitcher with Flavor Options
                            Fig. 4: PUR Pitcher w/ LED Light           Fig. 5: PUR Flavor Options Pitcher                   

3M Filtrete Water Station

The Filtrete Water Station has recently added some competition to the water pitcher scene (See Fig. 6). Rather than simply filling up one pitcher to store in your fridge, this 4 bottle water filter allows you to fill up to 4 bottles of purified water simultaneously, allowing you the convenience of bottled water without the uncessesary added expense and environmental plastic waste. Simply fill the top of the station with water from your tap, and the filter reduces sediment and chlorine taste and odor in seconds. The Filtrete water bottles are BPA-free and dishwasher safe and hold up to 16.9 oz. of filtered water. The filter features a filter change indicator that lets you know when it's time to change it. Typically, the cartridges last up to 100 gallons and should be changed every three months.

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3M Filtrete Water Station
Fig. 6: Filtrete Water Station

Reasons to Buy a Water Pitcher Filter

Reasons Not to Buy a Water Pitcher Filter

Related Links

"How to Choose a Water Pitcher Filter"
"The 3M Filtrete Water Station (aka the 4 bottle water filter)"

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