Which Water Filtration System is Best? |

Which Water Filtration System is Best?

admin April 5, 2018

Last week, I dove into the research behind water filtration systems.  If you haven’t read it yet, check it out HERE.

But now, the obvious question is — so which system is really the best one?  Company, type, get specific!  Several of you have asked, so here we go.

What I’m Looking For in a Water Filtration System

To summarize what I talked about in the previous post (but you should still read it if you haven’t), this is what I’m looking for:

  • Carbon-based main filtration (specifically coconut)
  • Copper-zinc mineral stone secondary filtration (maybe)
  • Bone-char based fluoride filter

I do NOT want:

Reverse Osmosis — Strips all minerals from the water, doesn’t remove all bacteria, nitrates, pesticides, etc.  Unstable, acidic, and strips minerals from the body.

Aluminum-based fluoride filter — Can leave traces of aluminum in the water (possibly) and we’re trying to avoid that.

Other types of carbon filters — Coconut is the most effective at removing contaminants and also the most renewable, which is why I prefer that to other types of carbon.

UV filter — It’s just not necessary for my system (tap water).  It may be a smart extra step for those on well water, as it helps to kill bacteria that may be in the water.

Salt-based water softener — Messy and annoying to use, and also strip the beneficial minerals out of the water.  Would be good only on appliances, but not for drinking water.  A salt-free softener does not remove the minerals and is a good option if you need a softener at all.

Which Water Filtration System is Best?

Now that we know what we’re looking for…let’s look at the systems out there and see which ones meet those needs!

Most systems have a “sediment pre-filter” which is just a membrane that catches dirt, small rocks, etc.  You want this, especially if you have well water.  This part is pretty standard and not controversial.

Some cities fluoridate their water, but about a third in the US do not.  Check if you need a fluoride filter before purchasing one; they are expensive.

Some cities use chlorine to treat the water, and others use chloramine.  They are filtered a bit differently, so check to see which your city uses.

Please note, NSF-certified means that the company has passed third-party tests showing that their filters actually do what they say they are supposed to do.  It’s an international organization that makes sure that food and water products (and companies that produce them) are safe.  You can check any company HERE.


Type(s) of Filtration: Carbon-based, UV, salt-free softener, copper-zinc mineral stone, sub-micron sediment filter

Intended Use: Whole house (other options available)

Price: $599 – $1935

Notes: This system does not filter fluoride and does not have an attachment that can do so (I emailed to ask).  So, if you do not have fluoride, it could be a good option.  It has several “extras” available, like the salt-free water softener and the UV filter, as well as a pro-install kit for the DIY-er.  The basic system is very affordable.  It’s a good option for those on well water or city water that isn’t fluoridated.

NSF Certified: Yes

Rating: B

Link: Whole house system


Type(s) of Filtration: Carbon-based, aluminum fluoride filter

Intended Use: Counter top

Price: $228 – $625

Notes: This has been the go-to filter for years in the natural community.  It’s relatively affordable (cost varies based on gallons the unit holds — 1.5 to 6 — and number of filters in it) and claims to filter everything but the beneficial minerals.  The fluoride filters are made of alumina (a form of aluminum) so, although Berkey claims that they don’t put any aluminum in the water, I can’t recommend them.  Additionally, these fluoride filters only work well in water that has a pH of 5 – 7, while most tap water is going to be more like 7 – 8 (source).  (Water is not supposed to be acidic.)  It’s rather bulky, and some do not have the counter space for it.

There has also been some controversy about the effectiveness of Berkey filters. One example is HERE.  Others say it does just fine, like HERE.

NSF Certified: No

Rating: C

Link: Counter top systems


Type(s) of Filtration: Coconut shell carbon, bone char, copper-zinc mineral filtration, UV filtration, salt-free softener

Intended Use: Whole house, point of use (under sink) options

Price: $850 – $5280

Notes: This has a broad price range.  The “basic” system that includes the coconut shell carbon and copper-zinc mineral filtration (for the whole house) is $850.  If you need a water softener, it jumps up to over $2000.  The fluoride filter add-on is $1490 (for the whole house).  UV filters are separate too.  This can get quite pricey, but it depends on your needs.  Can be self-installed or can hire a plumber.

The system I chose (this is the one we’ll go with) will cost $2345.  That is the “basic” whole house system with the whole-house fluoride filter add-on.

NSF Certified: Yes

Rating: A

Link: Whole house main filter

Pure Effects

Type(s) of Filtration: Catalytic and coconut shell carbon; anti-RAD; calcium substrate and bone char.

Intended Use: Whole house system

Price: $1595 – $2710

Notes: Removes chlorine, chloramine, bacteria, viruses, radiation, fluoride, and a number of other contaminants.  One of the most comprehensive systems.  Price depends on addition of separate chloramine filter and leak protection (optional).  Must be installed be a certified plumber, which may be a downside if you’re more a DIY-er.

NSF Certified: No

Rating: B

Radiant Life (14-Stage)

Type(s) of Filtration: Coconut carbon, RO, UV

Intended Use: Under sink/point-of-use

Price: $1695

Notes: They say it’s “impossible” to filter water to your whole house without RO for under $10K, which is NOT what my research has shown at all.  Perhaps that was true 10 years ago, but it isn’t now.  I find this misleading.  Also, this system is unnecessarily complicated, using carbon to filter, then RO, then multi-stage remineralizing.  It also requires a large holding tank, which means it takes up more space.  It will do the job…but there are less complicated, smaller, cheaper systems that will, too.

NSF Certified: No

Rating: C

Link: 14-Stage Filtration System


Type(s) of Filtration: Carbon-based to reduce chlorine or chloramine, inorganic minerals (zinc, copper, lead) and sediment

Intended Use: Under sink

Price: Unavailable; may only purchase through a dealer

Notes: Does not do fluoride.  Only available through a dealer, so you have to find a local person and invite them into your home to access it.

NSF Certified: No

Rating: D.

Link: Basic system


Type(s) of Filtration: Carbon, silver

Intended Use: Counter top or whole house

Price: $1799 (whole house); $189 – $339 (counter top)

Notes: It has one single set of filters that reduce everything, not multiple stages.  It does filter out fluoride and does not use aluminum.  It seems like a very good option for both whole house and counter top models.

NSF Certified: Yes

Rating: A

Link: System details

The Best Options (and My Favorite)

The rating system took into account whether the system could do the whole house or just a single location (more points for whole house), whether it was available to purchase individually or only through a dealer (more points for individually), whether or not it filtered fluoride (more points if yes), whether or not it was NSF-certified (more points if yes) and general cost.

Only two systems took the top rating!

Pelican Water Systems — This is the one I’m choosing.  It does the whole house, it filters fluoride (with the add-on), it’s NSF-certified and reasonably affordable.  It’s also available for purchase directly through their website.

Propur — They have a new whole house system that filters everything, including fluoride, with one set of filters.  They’re NSF-certified and available for purchase directly.  I didn’t choose this mostly because they weren’t as transparent about what’s in their filters as Pelican, but I also didn’t ask as many questions.  If you currently have a Berkey, I would recommend keeping the unit but swapping its filters out for the Propur filters.  They’re only $25 for a pair, HERE.

An honorable mention, Aquasana.  They’re affordable and they have a great system, but it doesn’t filter fluoride.  If you don’t need to filter fluoride, that may be a great option for you.

I hope this was helpful!  If you have any other systems you’re looking at, feel free to ask me about them!

Which water filtration system did you choose?

This is the writings of:



  1. We are on well water so no fluoride or chlorine. Had it tested when we bought the house 8 years ago and everything came back clean and fine. So we got a berky for out drinking/cooking water just for extra peace of mind and thought all was well. Well, now we have discovered our water is soft and acidic (just naturally – all the well water around here is). And we are supposed to be drinking alkaline water with minerals in it. (Sigh!) so frustrating! I am not impressed with the mineral supplements out there. We are trying to figure out what to do now. There are whole house ph filter systems for acidic water that use a combo of calcium, magnesium, and soda ash to raise the alkalinity. But expensive! It’s frustrating that something as simple and basic as water has to be so complicated. :/


  2. During your research have you looked into Crystal Quest filters? We have a whole house water filter from this company and I would love to read your thoughts on it.


  3. Where are you finding a legit whole house RO for UNDER 10K?! Lol


  4. Also, you should ask what the NSF certification is on for the Pelican. It’s definetly not for the fluoride side they are claiming.


  5. We have had the Pelican combo system in our home for over 5 years now, and love it! Getting all the chlorine out of our water has made a huge difference in our water.


  6. I’m surprised (and bummed) that you didn’t review the Multipure system!


  7. Your link to the ProPur filters you recommend for Berkey systems is for the G1.0 (which does NOT filter out fluoride) rather than the G2.0 (which does filter out fluoride). The price increase is pretty substantial. You might make that more clear so no one mistakenly buys something that can’t filter fluoride.


  8. I’m curious to know your thoughts on drinking natural spring water. I’m fortunate enough to live by a city-managed free flowing artesian spring. I fill large glass carboys snd my family uses that as our drinking water.


  9. Thanks, helpful article. I wanted to know the difference between water filters and water filtration system.


  10. Radiant Life claims that the 14 stages and whole house systems are NSF certified. In your article you claim that the 14 stage is not.. any thoughts?


  11. Thank you so much! This is a great post!


  12. My parents want to make sure that our water is safe for consumption. It was explained here that when looking for a water filtration system, it should be carbon-based. Moreover, it’s recommended to hire professional plumbers for water filtration system.


  13. Thanks for the tip about considering how coconut filters are nice for a water filtration system. It would be good to consider what type of filter will last the longest as well. My husband and I are looking for a new water filtration system, so we’ll have to consider coconut.


  14. What do you think about the Hellenbrand ProMate 6.0-DMT water softener and filtration system for the whole house for $2,300? I would love to get your expert opinion on this system. It removes adverse minerals and hardness reduction. It uses either salt which is the cheaper option for maintenance or it uses carbon which is the more expensive option since only replaced by Hellenbrand dealer. Please let me know your honest opinion before I purchase anything. Thank you so very much for your time.


  15. Very helpful article. I am a newbie in choosing water purifiers. But after reading your article now it seems I have made my mind. Aquasana is the best choice for me.
    Thanks for sharing.


  16. I am looking for whole house system and I called Pelican; unfortunately I do not think we will go that route because their system does not filter out chromium 6 (and the salesman claimed the only way to do that is RO which I already know is not true). In addition it seems that if you do not filter Chromium 6 out of your bathing water, you could inhale the fumes which are known to cause lung cancer. So an undersink system will not help in the shower. I’m still researching but I’m becoming very discouraged.


  17. It got me when you said that salt-based water softeners do not remove all the needed minerals which are good for both things and human. With that in mind, I will be choosing this system for our house to keep our water clean. We just don’t have one yet because we lack the money back then after this house was built, so we saved up for this first before having one installed.


  18. Correction:
    “[NSF is] an international organization”.
    Actually, NSF is a United States government agency, not international. It stands for “National Science Foundation”.
    The US wierdly likes to start their agency names with “National”, even when there are similar organizations in other countries.


  19. Hi Kate 🙂
    Does Propur’s new ProMax filtration system remove minerals from water?
    All best wishes,


  20. Hi,
    How is Pelican 6 stage RO system?
    Is it true that it doesn’t remove bacteria from the water and do they have add on item for removing bacteria? If not, can boiling water kill the bacteria?



  21. Hey! I just wanted to give you feedback on the Propur. I took your advice and switched my Berkey filter with the Propur. I was happy with it, but then My unit fell off the counter and the elements broke apart…so I had to order new ones.

    I just want to also say that’s I clean the containers monthly. When you get the Propur filters you need to fill the tank 3x before using…then it’s ready. When the new ones came I did as directed, but this time after the 3rd flush I decided to swipe the bottom with a paper towel and film of black sediment was on there. I flushed it several more times and still there was sediment. I called the company and they sent me 2 more, plus I had to more and the same results. I now am no longer using the Berkey Filter at all. I had problems with the Berkey elements as well, but a different issue.

    Just wanted to give this info in case anyone was interested in purchasing. I would advice against both. If you do choose Berkey I wouldn’t get the Royal or bigger. I think the one under is easier to maintain and hopefully works better.


  22. I am confused a little. Aquasana does clean out fluoride; it says it right on their website. ??


  23. Kat,

    Check out Radiant Life’s Series 6 Whole House Filtration system. They have a list of over 100 contaminants removed by their mixed carbon filtration media and Chromium is one of them.

    Based on my research the Series 6 is the most comprehensive whole house filter that I can find. We are building a new house and I think this is what we’re going to go with. I think we are also going to use this for our drinking water in lieu of a separate RO filter in order to avoid removing all minerals from our drinking water.


  24. Has anyone tried the Fidelis Elite System? All in one, pricey but seems legit.


  25. Pristine Hydro seems like the ultimate filter to me but a budget-friendly one we use is Clearly Filtered for now. Have you looked into either of those?? They both filter flouride & tons of chemicals & toxicants.


  26. This is all so helpful! Would you still recommend pelican now that they are pentair? Have you looked into the PUR2o water system? Also, what are your thoughts on Alkaline water?


  27. What about alexapure Pro water filtration system from my patriot supply? I purchased the counter top for $200 and it’s filters fluoride. Cheaper than berkey system


  28. Are you saying that we want to have floride in our drinking water?


  29. Thank you for this info!

    What about Dr. Mercola’s under counter fluoride filter?

    And the Life Source whole house system ? It looks good and They claim to filter out something like 97% of everything including fluoride, but I’m not yet convinced. Not certified for fluoride removal, but does such a certification even exist?


  30. Why was the Alexapure not included in the review?


  31. Wondering if you or anyone has checked out Greenfield Water Solutions. Thank you.


  32. Thoughts on LifeSource house filtration systems?


  33. Do you still support these recommendations? Or do you have any updates?


  34. Looks like Pelican is now Pentair. Any idea if products are still the same quality???


  35. I had my water tested a few weeks ago and it showed that it has too much chlorine in it, so I need to look for a good water filtration system. Thank you for such a clear comparison of the available options. I think that I will stop on Pure effects one. It remains only to choose the model and ensure proper maintenance. I believe that regular and thoughtful care of the equipment is no less important than the quality of the tools you use. Therefore, it makes sense to organize a space with reports, checklists and other related documents in one place. I’m going to use a mobile app to conduct inspections that provides the above mentioned features. I’ve never managed a water filtration system before, so I hope I won’t have too many problems with it. I will do another water test in a couple of months and will certainly share my impressions with you.


  36. Excellent blog!
    You did amazing job.


  37. We have been using Enagic’s alkaline ionizer and water filtration machine (SD501) since 2007 with great results. We haven’t purchased bottled water since 2007. Here is a link to information on Kangen water and the types of water produced:


    • Thank you so much for sharing what water filter you use, Jane. I’m so happy to see you’re happy with what you’re using. 🙂


  38. Wondering about the PureBlueH2O system.

    Water Filtration System
    Pure Blue H2O 4 stage (sediment, pre-carbon CTO, post-carbon CTO) and reverse osmosis 50 GPD Membrane)


    Any input or rating on this?


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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