What's the Deal: Picking the Best Water Filters

If you think your tap water tastes funny, you're not alone.

Many Americans rely on water filter pitchers to improve taste and quality. But how do you know which water filter gets the job done right?

Most water pitcher filters can take care of the odor and taste of your water but some can also filter out lead and other contaminants. Consumer Reports just finished testing various water filter pitchers.. and has new ratings on popular brands.

Thirsty? A refreshing glass of water will do the trick unless of course, that tap water doesn't taste or smell so good.

"Most water in the U.S. is safe to drink, but it could contain compounds and chemicals that can make it taste metallic or salty, or even smell a little funny," said Perry Santanachote, Home Editor of Consumer Reports.

Most of the pitchers CR tested successfully took care of the smell, but only one pitcher earned an excellent rating for both flavor and odor reduction, the Pur Ultimate with Lead Reduction PPT711W. Two others garnered a Very Good, The Pur Basic PPT700W and the Brita Stream Rapids OB55.

"No one filter does it all. Most pitchers will remove chlorine and elements that leave a bad taste, but very few actually remove lead," he said.

In fact, only two pitchers that Consumer Reports tested actually claim to filter out lead. If there are serious contaminants in your water, a water pitcher filter may not be enough to solve your problem.

One last thing you want to be aware of when shopping for a new water filter pitcher is how long it takes to filter the water.

"The Brita Stream Rapids filtered 1 quart of water in just one minute and 15 seconds. In comparison, the lead-removing Pur Ultimate took nearly 15 minutes to filter a quart. It's definitely a factor to consider if you have a thirsty household that goes through a lot of water every day," he said.

CR also says to remember that you need to replace the filter in your pitcher as often as the manufacturer states, which is usually every two months or 40 gallons, and new filters generally range from 5 to 15 -dollars in price.

Pur Ultimate with Lead Reduction PPT711W

The Pur Basic PPT700W

Brita Stream Rapids OB55
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