Shopping for Water Filters

Store Guide

Guide To: Filtration pitchers, taps, under-sink tanks, and countertop filters
Marketplace Link: Water Devices

Water quality varies depending on where you live, so it makes sense that the type of filter you'd use would vary according to your personal needs. This guide offers some brief tips (and links) for information on choosing a water filter, as well as specifics on where to buy one.

Before you buy a water filter, determine what you want the filter to do. (To find more info about your region's drinking water from the EPA, click here). If you're trying to improve the taste of your water, then a pitcher or tap-mounted filter will probably get the job done. If you're worried about sediment or rust in the water, you might want to look into a reverse osmosis system that's integrated with your plumbing. For more detailed information, Treehugger has a great guide to determining which water filter is right for you.

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Target (Various Locations/Online): Big box stores like Target, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot stock mainstream water filters at reasonable prices. The Brita On Tap system is a popular model. Target also carries systems by Pur, ZeroWater, and Greenway.

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Green Depot (Various Locations/Online): This store carries a range of water filtration devices that cost anywhere from $25 to the high-end Aquavos Ovopur for $650. They carry countertop models, as well as dual cartridge systems that can be mounted under the sink.

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Gracious Home (New York/Online): This independently owned retailer stocks a lot of what you'll find at Bed, Bath & Beyond or the Container Store, but they hone in on the quality stuff and round out their inventory with harder-to-find items and imports. They have a good selection of water filters from Elemaris, Zerowater, and Maxtra.

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Design Within Reach (Various Locations/Online): DWR's Japanese water pitcher uses stones and charcoal (prepared for potable water use) to naturally filter water and add minerals. The filters last up to six months, but the thing we really like about the design is its simple, minimal aesthetic.

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Snyder Diamond (Santa Monica/Online): If you live in the LA area, this independent, family-run store is good resource for kitchen and bath fixtures. They sell GE's reverse osmosis systems, which can be integrated into your plumbing and faucets.

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Lehman's Non-Electric Catalog (Online): This store was founded in the 1950s to serve Amish communities and, even today, they continue to carry products for off-the-grid filtration. They have a good selection of reverse osmosis, gravity, and siphon filters designed to remove parasites and bacteria from well water.

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Bed, Bath, & Beyond (Various Locations/Online): They have a pretty good water filtration section, where they sell pitchers and tap mounts from Brita, HoMedics, PUR, and Cuisinart. (For Unplggd's profile of the HoMedics filter, click here.)

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Amazon.com (Online): Since Amazon has so many warehouses and doesn't carry the same overhead as a brick-and-mortar chain store, they're able to stock a pretty huge selection of water filters. When we've checked water filter prices against other retailers, we haven't seen too much of a difference, but they're still a good source to check if you're looking for a specific brand or model (like the Zuvo shown above) that's hard to find elsewhere.

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Gaiam (Online): This catalog retailer focuses on "wellness" solutions, and they have a few different countertop and under-the-sink filtration systems.

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Sur La Table (Various Locations/Online): The prices are a little bit higher than you'd find elsewhere, but whenever we've visited the store in-person (they have locations in 26 states), the staff has been really well-informed and helpful. They have a few different pitcher and countertop models from Cuisinart, Capresso, and Mavea.

MORE INFORMATION ON CHOOSING A WATER FILTER
WaterFilterComparisons.net
Good Questions: What's the Best Water Filter Solution?
Treehugger's Guide to Buying a Water Filtration System
Treehugger's 5 Best In-Home Water Filters