People need to drink water to maintain their balance of body fluids. Bodies are made of around 60 percent water which is needed for circulation, digestion, absorption, saliva creation, maintaining body temperature and transporting nutrients. Water consumption helps energize muscles especially when exercising so that the muscles don’t become fatigued. Drinking water also keeps the kidneys functioning properly and maintains normal bowel functions. Skin is also healthier and looks better because water keeps it hydrated.
Tap water is readily available but is not necessarily pure or sterile. Most people get their drinking water from lakes, rivers and underground aquifers. Municipal water treatment plants filter sand and dirt out of the water, then either filter the water using activated charcoal or use reverse osmosis, ultraviolet (UV) light or the ozone-exposure method. At the end, chlorine and other chemicals are added to disinfect the water which kills bacteria, viruses or parasites. In some plants, ammonia is added to the water and binds to chlorine creating chloramines. Active-charcoal filtration removes chloramines and the smell and taste of the chlorine in the water.
Bottled water, while convenient, is not a good option when you consider that chemicals that are contained in plastic bottles could seep into the water if the bottles sit for a long time or are exposed to heat. Plastic is also not sustainable and therefore not environmentally friendly. Bottled water is also more expensive.
Water filters help make water taste and smell better by removing contaminants, toxins and other leftover impurities. Filtered water is also significantly less harmful to the body with substances such as lead, chlorine and chlorine byproducts removed. Drinking clean water means you will less likely suffer from gastrointestinal diseases and reduce the risks of getting colon, rectal or bladder cancer. It’s also good for immune systems, especially with children who are still developing.
How Water-Filter Pitchers Work
In general, these pitchers are made of plastic and sometimes stainless steel. They can be stored in a refrigerator and use a charcoal filter that is located underneath a reservoir. Water is poured into the pitcher at the top, and gravity forces water into a lower reservoir through the filter.
The charcoal filter is filled with activated-carbon granules. These porous charcoal pieces have a large surface area. When water is filtered, the particles catch contaminants and impurities through an adsorption process. However, charcoal cannot filter out nitrates, microbes or heavy metals. It also can’t soften hard water.
While results vary, charcoal filters can remove any medications that aren’t filtered out at the municipal level. Other chemicals that can be removed include zinc, hydrogen sulfide, lead, mercury, asbestos, radon, arsenic, cadmium, copper and mercury.
Make sure to read the instructions for your water-filter pitcher, especially on how often you should change the filter. If your pitcher has a filter cartridge life indicator, know how to engage it. Rinse new charcoal filters before first use. Charcoal filters do become clogged with impurities with usage over time, so they do require regular replacement. The filters could also harbor harmful bacteria so changing them prevents exposure.
Additional Health Benefits
Water-filter pitchers can change the pH level of the water as well as remove contaminants. The water is made to be more alkaline which is beneficial and healthier. Some scientific studies have shown that drinking alkaline water with a high pH helps people suffering from acid reflux disease by breaking down the pepsin enzyme that breaks down proteins but also leads to acid reflux. Other studies have shown benefits to people suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated blood lipids.
However, drinking large amounts of alkaline water, especially if it has a pH range of 8 or higher, should be limited because it may harm organs and interfere with the body’s ability to produce stomach acid so that food can be digested. While alkaline water is also antibacterial, it may upset your body’s balance of intestinal flora. Unless the water-filter pitcher is specifically designed for alkaline water, this should not be much of a concern with most water-filter pitchers.
What Is the PUR Water-Filter Pitcher?
The PUR Water-Filter Pitcher has a filter that reduces contaminants in your drinking water. PUR currently has four different water pitchers, all of which remove a percentage of lead that can enter water because of lead’s presence in household plumbing or service lines leaching lead. PUR has a proprietary filter technology called MAXION which uses activated carbon and ion exchange. Other contaminants that these filters remove include pharmaceuticals, mercury and pesticides. The filters also reduce the odor and taste of chlorine in water.
PUR offers four different water-filter pitchers:
This pitcher is certified to remove 99 percent of lead, 96 percent of mercury and 92 percent of certain pesticides. It has a CleanSensor monitor which is a filter-change light that signals when the filter should be changed. The filter life is two months or 30 gallons. The BPA-free pitcher is designed slim to save space in your refrigerator, has an easy-fill lid and a comfort-grip handle. Its pour-spout cover keeps particulates and odors from getting into the clean, purified water.
This is the smaller version of the 11-Cup Ultimate Pitcher Filtration System with Lead Reduction. The only difference between the two is its size.
- PUR BASIC WATER FILTRATION PITCHER: PUR's 7-cup water filter pitcher fits in your fridge for easy, quick access to...
- PITCHER WATER FILTERS: PUR Basic Pitcher filters provide 40 gallons of filtered water, or 1-2 months of typical use,...
- WHY FILTER WATER? Home tap water may look clean, but may contain potentially harmful pollutants & contaminants picked up...
This is the entry-level, most-economical pitcher model. It claims to rid water of 96 percent of mercury, 95 percent of certain industrial pollutants and 94 percent of certain pharmaceuticals. While this uses the MAXION filter technology, this simple BPA-free pitcher lacks the CleanSensor monitor.
- Certified to remove 96% of mercury and 95% of industrial pollutants; BPA free
- Keep track of your filter life with a built-in electronic filter life indicator. The indicator flashes green, yellow or...
- Water Pitcher holds eleven 8 oz glasses of water; Water Pitcher filter provides up to 40 gallons of clean water or lasts...
This BPA-free water pitcher has the same removal certifications as the Basic 7-Cup Pitcher: 96 percent of mercury, 94 percent of certain pharmaceuticals and 95 percent of certain industrial pollutants. In addition to its larger size, this model has a built-in LED indicator that monitors the filter life so that you know when to change the filter. monitor.
The pricing for the four water-filter pitchers is as follows:
PUR products can be purchased online on PUR’s website as well as at various retailers such as Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco, CVS, Fred Mayer, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Kmart, Mejier, Publix, Rite Aid, Albertson’s, Safeway, Walgreens, Target and Walmart.
How It Compares
One comparable product is the Brita Large 10-Cup Everyday Water Pitcher with Filter, which is one of Brita’s best-selling pitchers. It is BPA free and uses a sticker filter indicator.
- LARGE WATER PITCHER: This large, clear plastic pitcher is easy to pour and refill. Great for families. Height 10.47";...
- CLEANER AND GREAT TASTING: The BPA free Brita filter reduces chlorine taste and odor, copper, mercury, and cadmium...
- FILTER INDICATOR: For optimum performance, a helpful status indicator notifies you when your water filter needs to be...
Brita also has a premium water-filter pitcher called the Monterey with Longlast™ Filter. It is BPA free, has an easy-fill top and an electronic filter indicator. The capacity is 10 cups, and it has the Brita Longlast™ Filter which is certified to reduce more contaminants than the Brita standard filter. Those contaminants include cadmium, mercury, lead, benzene and asbestos. It also reduces chlorine odor and taste.
The Soma 10-Cup Pitcher is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The pitcher is made of BPA-free, shatterproof plastic and has a sustainable white oak handle. The filtration technology is made from 65 percent renewable, plant-based materials. The filter removes mercury, chlorine taste and odor, copper, and zinc.
ZeroWater touts a filtration system that uses five technologies working together to remove dissolved solids from tap water. The ZeroWater 10-Cup Pitcher is market-certified to reduce lead and chromium. It also claims to reduce aluminum, zinc, nitrate and other substances that are leached into water from piping or left over from public water systems. There is an activated-carbon and oxidation-reduction alloy that works to remove the taste of chlorine from tap water.
- 10 CUP WATER FILTERING PITCHER: You'll always have cleaner, pure tasting water on hand with our BPA-Free, water filter...
- FIVE STAGE WATER FILTRATION: Unlike many water filters & pitchers, ZeroWater filters use 5 stages of filtration, to...
- NOT AN ORDINARY WATER FILTER: ZeroWater filters filter water in 5 stages, are NSF certified to reduce lead and other...
Price & Reviews
Pitcher with 1 Filter
11.25 x 6.4 x 10.8 in
Pitcher with 1 Filter
11.3 x 4.8 x 10.9 in
11.3 x 4.8 x 10.9 inches
10.94 x 5.59 x 10.47 in
10.6 x 10.9 x 5.8 inches
12.6 x 13.2 x 9.7 inches
12.25 x 6 x 11.62 in
Pros and Cons
PUR’s best water-filter pitcher is the Ultimate Pitcher Filtration System with Lead Reduction, which comes in 7- or 11-cup capacities. The price of either is about average, with competitors’ higher-end products being more expensive. Prices lower than PUR’s are indicative of less sophisticated, more basic filter pitchers using simple sticker trackers to signal when to swap out the filter. The Soma water-filter pitcher is possibly the most attractive of the pitchers mentioned but lacks the certifications of the other products. The ZeroWater filters are considered the most advanced of the available filters on the market, but PUR and Brita have the most recognizable brand names and offer competitive pricing.
Generally, water-filter pitchers are less expensive than faucet filters or under-the-counter systems. However, while they are effective, they are the least effective of these three filtration systems.
Alternatives to Water-Filter Pitchers
All filtration methods use a combination of chemical and physical techniques. Besides using activated carbon as the water-filter pitchers do, the other options are reverse osmosis, ion exchange and distillation.
In this method water is forced through a membrane or very fine filter using pressure. Water passes through while the contaminants are left behind. Energy is required to make this process happen, so reverse osmosis filters for home use rely on electrically powered pumps which will increase your electricity usage that you pay for in your monthly utility bill. This method successfully removes salt, nitrates and limescale but is less effective in removing bacteria. For every liter of clean water produced, four to five liters of waste water are produced. One final prohibitive factor is the cost which could run in the low- to mid-hundreds of dollars.
For softening hard water by removing limescale, this is a good filtration method. Atoms of contaminants are split apart to create ions, which are electrically charged atoms with either too few or too many electrons. The ions are trapped and different, less-problematic ions are released in exchange. Ion-exchange filters have zeolite beads that contain sodium ions. When hard water containing magnesium and calcium compounds is poured into the filter, magnesium and calcium ions are formed and are replaced with sodium ions that are released into the water which softens it. This may be tricky for people on low-sodium diets. Another problem is that the filters need to be recharged periodically by using a certain salt to add more sodium ions which prevents limescale buildup.
Before there were water filters on the market, people simply boiled their water to purify it. While heat kills bacteria, it doesn’t remove contaminants, chemicals or limescale. Distillation is more than regular boiling. It involved boiling water to make steam, capturing the steam and cooling or condensing it back into water in another container. Water boils at a lower temperature than contaminants like heavy metals, so these remain behind while the steam separates from it. However, if there are volatile organic compounds in the water, these boil at a lower temperature than water and evaporate with the steam which means they are still contained in the water.
PUR water-filter pitchers are inexpensive and remove a good number of contaminants while improving the chlorinated taste of tap water. It is also cheaper and better for the environment than frequently buying bottled water. Water-filter pitchers are considered an entry-level step into having filtered water to drink, with the best system being a reverse osmosis system that requires installation.