How to find the best water filter in the UK? This is a question we asked ourselves several years ago, after spending endless hours researching water filters and testing them out, here’s what we discovered:
- There is endless choice when it comes to water filters
- There is a water filter for every budget, space and need
- All water filters are not made equal – compare by checking for
- Percentage of contaminants removed
- What micron size it removes (filter micron removal size)
- Types of contaminants removed or absorbed by filters
There is no one filter that does everything, you need lots of stages of filtration. As with most things in life, if you want the best you need to pay for quality.
Before we get into the detail of different types of water filters, a quick word on bottled water (more on bottled water types soon in a future blog). For us, bottled water just isn’t a sustainable or affordable option – too much plastic, too much waste, too many trips to the shops and it will cost you much more in the long run. Moving on …
Types of Water Filters
Fridge Water Filter
This comes built into your fridge. It is normally a granular activated carbon filter to absorb chlorine and the bad taste or smells from the water. This is only one simple stage of filtration and doesn’t take out viruses and bacteria.
Water Filter Jugs
A water jug or pitcher (e.g. Brita) is a simple method of purifying your tap water. A water filter jug normally has only one filter so only has limited ability to purify water. It removes some contaminants and can help prevent limescale. With prices starting at £20 for a water filter jug this can seem like a very cheap way of getting filtered water. However, watch out for filter cartridge costs and how often you have to replace them (some as often as every 4 weeks).
Tap Faucet Filters
This is a filter that you fit directly onto your kitchen tap. It usually uses ultrafiltration membrane filtration and removes a reasonable amount of contaminants. Again this is usually only one stage of filtration. Pricing for a good quality tap filter is around £25. Watch out for how often you need to replace filters (often every 3 months) and costs of these. Also, let’s be honest, it’s quite an ugly bulky attachment to put onto your kitchen tap.
A shower filter is attached to each individual shower and uses various methods of filtration (such as activated carbon and mineral balls) to purify your water. Using a shower filter removes some chlorine and heavy metals and some of them add minerals back into the water.
Having purified water for showering helps with skin and hair health as chlorine and other chemicals can be very drying and can aggravate skin conditions such as eczema. Shower filters generally cost around £20 – £30 per unit and filters will probably need to be replaced every 6 months.
Countertop Water Filters
Using varying methods of water filtration, a standalone countertop water filter is another option for drinking water in the kitchen. You’ll need to make space on your kitchen worktop for this and look for a model that fits in with your kitchen design. These will connect either to your faucet or mains pipe. Depending on the model you choose you can expect to pay around £170 – £500, plus filters and some countertop systems have monthly payments or maintenance options (e.g. Virgin Pure).
Disadvantages of the countertop water filter include the amount of space it takes up and that it’s really only useful for drinking water. E.g. You can’t wash vegetables under this or easily fill up a pan with water. Also, they don’t have a good output so won’t be able to produce lots of water.
Gravity-fed Water Filters
These gravity-fed or drip water filters generally have two compartments – one at the top where you pour the water onto the filters and one at the bottom with a tap to collect clean water. The best-known gravity water filter is probably the Berkey, which costs around £450 for the Big Berkey.
The Berkey is good at removing contaminants (over 200) and has a long filter life, plus it looks the part. You will, however, need to find space in your kitchen for it, find a way of raising it up to access the tap and you will spend time every day filling it up and waiting for the water to drip through. It is worth noting that they have a travel Berkey, which would be good for camping.
The water distiller (costing around £150) sits on your countertop and uses electricity to evaporate the water by heating it to boiling point. Steam is then captured and condensed into purified distilled water. Distilling water removes most contaminants except for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can’t be boiled away. This process is quite time-consuming, noisy and produces only a small amount of water, plus it uses electricity. You also get quite a flat taste to the water.
Also known as the Alkaline Ionizer, this method uses water ionization to change the molecular structure of water into antioxidant, alkaline drinking water. You also get oxidized acidic water as a by-product, which can be used for cleaning. It works by feeding the tap through a filter to reduce contaminants before it undergoes water electrolysis (requiring electricity).
The water ionizer’s strength is in producing good-tasting antioxidant-rich alkaline water, but its weakness is its limited capacity to filter or purify water. It does not remove contaminants such as sediments, organic contaminants and pharmaceuticals. Costs vary but expect to pay around £400 – £600.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Systems
Reverse osmosis (RO) is the process of pushing water through a semipermeable membrane to separate contaminants from water and produce cleaner drinking water. It can remove the majority of contaminants except for chlorine, some pesticides, solvents and volatile organic compounds. On their own, they’ll cost about £150.
As RO membranes are tiny, the water must be forced through at pressure, so you do need good water pressure with most systems (ours is direct flow with a pump so this isn’t an issue). They also produce waste water (or brine) which needs to be flushed away from the membrane to stop it clogging up. Due to their outstanding ability to filter water, they do remove some beneficial minerals from water too (e.g. calcium). This is why reverse osmosis systems are generally used alongside other filters (e.g. pre-filters to remove the majority of contaminants first and post-filters such as Biocera to remineralize the water).
Whole House Water Filters
A whole house water filtration system is fitted at your mains stop tap or your water supply’s point of entry (POE) and costs around £350. Our system, the BMB 1000 Pro Nano, uses 4 filters with 8 stages of purification. Using nanotechnology and a variety of cutting-edge filtration methods it can remove up to 97% of all contaminants down to 5 microns.
The advantages of a whole house water filter are that you get cleaner water everywhere in the home all the time, with no electricity use. This is great for bathing (good for skin and hair), brushing your teeth, washing clothes, the dishwasher and drinking. You will need professional installation for the whole house system and check how often filters need to be replaced – ours are every 12 months.
Under Sink Water Filters
The under sink water filter (or point of use POU) is connected to your kitchen tap and is hidden out of the way in your under sink cupboard. Costs vary depending on the level of filtration, type of system and technology used. We sell and install the BMB NOVA Pro + Biocera Direct Flow 9 Stage Reverse Osmosis Under Sink Water Filter System, which costs around £899. It filters 99.99% of contaminants down to 0.0001 microns and produces great tasting water.
The under sink water filter uses 9 stages of filtration, including 3 pre-filters, 2 reverse osmosis membranes and 2 Biocera Alkaline Antioxidant post-filters (with 4 stages) to enrich the water with minerals and health-giving properties. The BMB Nova Pro is a SMART system, which means that it is constantly analyzing your water and making adjustments; it will also tell you when you need to replace filters (12 months for most, 3 years for the RO membranes).
You could install the under sink water filter yourself if you are confident at DIY as it comes with a 62-page installation manual. Bear in mind that you’ll probably want to buy a 3 way water filter tap too, rather than drilling and installing the separate faucet on your sink. You’ll also need an electricity socket under the sink.
What is the Best Water Filter?
We believe that the BMB Nova Pro is the best water filter in the UK, if not the world. Its filtering capability is outstanding, the filter life and output is good and the addition of Biocera antioxidant water is great for your health.
The only drawback is that it is just fitted to one tap, normally your kitchen tap. That is why we recommend installing a whole house water filtration system too so that you can benefit from cleaner water throughout your house. Doing this will also prolong the life of your under sink system as it won’t have to work quite as hard.
Buying and installing both water filter systems – and the associated annual filter replacement costs – is an investment. It’s not the cheapest method of water filtration but it will give you water that can improve your health and tastes amazing.