How to Choose a Water Pitcher Filter

What do you look for in a water filter pitcher? Sleek design? Advanced technology? Affordability?

Manufacturers of water pitcher filters take these factors into consideration when marketing their products.  Perhaps the most well-known pitcher filter on the market today is the Brita brand, with $5 billion in sales. Seven out of ten pitchers sold to consumers bear the Brita name. With so many alternate brands on the market, it’s only natural to wonder why.

In 2000, Brita sold sole rights to its brand to the Clorox Company. Seven years later, the MAVEA brand was launched by former Brita CEO Markus Hankammer. With a newer, contemporary, stylish design, the MAVEA Elemaris pitchers are priced at $32 to $40. Clorox-owned Brita carafes range from $11 to $32, with its latest, comparable upscale design priced at $23. (Is it safe to assume that the top priority for consumers is affordability?)

Nick Vlahos, vice president of Clorox’s Brita division thinks so. However, Hankammer argues that as these pitchers become less trendy over time, good design becomes more and more of a necessity. MAVEA pitchers have a rubber base and soft-grip handle, with a sleek design that looks great on any dinner table. MAVEA also claims to be ahead of the game in filtration technology, with a unique oval-shaped micromesh filter that prevents carbon fragments from escaping into the water. (I’m sure we’re all familiar with those tiny black dots…).

Brita and MAVEA are not the only water filtration pitchers on the market today. Many companies that manufacture water filters have pitchers somewhere in their product lines, including GE, Culligan and PUR. Each of these brands has something unique to offer. With so many options, how do you go about choosing the best one?

  • Find out what’s in your water. The reduction of chlorine taste and odor, along with chlorination byproducts, is a given with most water filter pitcher brands. Some pitchers also reduce microbiological cysts, heavy metals, pharmaceutical traces, and agricultural and industrial pollutants.
  • Pick a price point. Obviously, affordability is a major priority for most consumers. How much are you willing to spend?
  • Look for the design that best suits your needs. How much space in your refrigerator are you willing to sacrifice for a water filter pitcher? Will you use your pitcher while entertaining guests? If so, how important is appearance? Some pitchers have an opening in the lid to allow for convenient, one-handed refills under the faucet.

These steps are in no particular order. Which of them do you consider most important? (Hint: take our latest poll.)

Anti-Bottled Water Celebrities

Last week, we did a blog post on celebrities for bottled water.  You didn’t just think we’d leave you hanging without presenting the other side of the equation, did you?  The celebrities for bottled water endorse the commodity by giving it a sexy image.  It appears that those against bottled water bring a little more to the table than a sexy appearance.  Whose side are you on?

Oprah Winfrey

One of the most followed and admired television faces in America added the environment to her list of favorite things over a year ago.  Along with reusable grocery bags and Seventh Generation cleaning products, Oprah has switched to reusable water bottles to reduce plastic bottle waste.

Adam Yauch

Former Beastie Boys rapper, Adam Yauch, calls out Nestle, Pepsi and Coca-Cola in his award-winning documentary film Flow: For Love of Water. The movie bashes bottled water companies for their “privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh-water supply.”  See our list of must-watch water movies for more information on Flow along with other, similar films.

Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper and Relentless 7

This year, Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper and Relentless 7 are all teaming up with Brita, Nalgene and the Filter for Good campaign to rid their summer tours of plastic water bottles.  At each concert, refilling stations will be set up where fans can obtain and refill free, reusable water bottles.  These stations will also supply further information on ways to conserve and protect the planet.  Brita’s Filter for Good channel, featuring DMB and other similar artists, is available on Pandora.  I think it’s safe to assume that when Dave wrote “Don’t Drink the Water,” he must have been talking about the bottled kind.

Kelly Osbourne

Feeling guilty about sipping bottled spring water, earlier this year daughter of rock star Ozzy Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne, pledged to go green by giving up bottled water, in order to help the environment.

Gisele Bundchen

Brazilian supermodel, Gisele Bundchen has been spotted several times with a SIGG reusable water bottle.  Though it’s uncertain whether she does so in an effort to preserve the environment, it is questionable, considering her marriage to Tom Brady who is actively involved in the Smart Water ad campaigns.

Cindy Crawford

Clearly bottled water companies aren’t the only ones who realize that sexy sells.  Two years ago, PUR Water Filtration partnered with supermodel Cindy Crawford to promote the use of filtered water over bottled.

Garrison Keillor

TreeHugger cites a quote from Garrison Keillor on the wastefulness of bottled water, from a 2007 article in the Salt Lake Tribune.  This Minnesota public radio show host turned his back on bottled water once he realized that tap is just as good or better.  We advocate filtered tap, of course.

Filters for Kids: A Two-Part Series

Parents, here are some filters to protect your kids from air and water pollutants.

You know what they say: “A filter a day keeps the doctor away.”

Okay, so maybe that’s not how the original saying goes, but there is still some truth to it. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then parents should, no doubt, be concerned about what their children are eating. What parents may not know is that the quality of what their children are drinking, bathing in and breathing is just as important.  Here are some ways to ensure your kids have access to pure, uncontaminated sources of air and water.

Filters for Kids, Part One: The Stuff We Drink

National Geographic recently published an article discussing the dangers of contaminated water that runs through school fountains and sinks. Water contaminated with lead and other toxic substances is a particular concern for urban schools that have old pipelines, as lead is known to affect the physical and mental development of children. Clearly, lead belongs in the pencils children use at school, not in their drinking water.

The obvious solution to this problem is – you guessed it – bottle water.  But, before you send your child off to school with an apple and a bottle of water in his lunchbox, consider the risks. Bottled water is 1,000 times more costly than tap and is bad for the environment. There is also a chance that if your child is drinking water from a bottle, he may be exposed to bisphenol-A (BPA), a harmful substance found in a variety of plastic containers and other consumer products, including baby bottles.

It looks like we have a true dilemma on our hands. If tap water is bad, and bottled water is bad, then what can your child drink?

Well, not all bottles are bad. A lot of plastic bottle manufacturers have switched to BPA-free bottles, since consumers and the FDA expressed concerns about the health risks of this toxic substance. Rather than buying bottled water, (which is likely bottled tap water anyway), parents can instead buy reusable water bottles for kids and refill them with filtered tap water. Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles come in various sizes and are BPA-free, as are Klean Kanteen Sippy Cups for smaller children.  Certain models of the Brita filter pitcher also come with a BPA-free Nalgene bottle.  Another solution is to purchase a bottle that has an attachable filter cartridge. The Filters Fast 16 oz. water filter bottle removes significant amounts of lead and other toxic contaminants every time you refill it.

To be continued