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Water Purifiers

Friday, 17 November 2006 | Tags: , , , , ,

Though tap water is treated at special processing plants before it's piped into our homes, many people like to filter it even more. We test some home purification systems to see how they measure up.

The Basics

  • There are a few options for filtering your own water at home:

    • a faucet-mount system, which fits right onto your tap and allows you to by-pass filtration for washing dishes and other tasks.

    • one that sits on your counter.

    • one that installs under your counter. These are typically most expensive and may require professional installation.

    • or a jug system that requires you to manually fill it.

  • Installation may seem pretty straightforward, but ensure the fittings provided are compatible with your faucets. And make sure the retailer will accept the product back for a refund if it doesn’t fit, even if it’s opened.

  • Check the filter for certification by the National Sanitation Foundation.

  • Most filters have a 1-3 month lifespan, depending on how often you use them and how much sediment is in your water. It’s important to change the filter regularly, or you could be re-contaminating your filtered water.

Other Considerations

  • Look at faucet mount and counter top units for an auto shut-off feature that stops the water flow for replacing the filter.

  • Some filters come with an ion exchange filter that claims to get rid of any extra contaminants, including lead.

TEST CRITERIA

We tested these filtration units:

  • Brita Slim Jug: $24
  • Pur Ultimate (on tap system): $40
  • Brita On Tap System: $50
  • Kenmore (counter unit): $70

Our tests and results include:

Filtration Test

We filtered both a popular bottled water and some plain tap water through each system and took it to a lab to see what, if any, impurities remained.

  • No sample was significantly better than the rest.

  • The filtration systems all removed some metals and most of the coliform.

  • Even the unfiltered tap water sample we used as a control met all federal standards.

Taste Test

We asked a wine club, people with very sensitive palettes accustomed to taste testing, to help us with this experiment.

  • the Brita On Tap was the favourite of a few of our testers

  • one tester even selected unfiltered tap water as her top choice

  • the majority of our testers gave top marks to the Pur Ultimate.

OUR TOP PICK

We agreed with the majority and chose the Pur Ultimate (faucet-mount) for its clean, crisp taste.

 

 

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