Buying Guide

10 Best Whole House Water Filters – The Ultimate Buying Guide

With a filter, you can always ensure you are getting purified water.

Whether your supply comes from the city or well, a whole house filtration system will remove impurities allowing you to drink, cook with, and consume safe water during your daily activities at every faucet.

It is easy to get overwhelmed, given the number of options and brands available. To simplify your decision-making process, we have compiled the 10 best whole house water filter reviews to make getting the one right for your home very clear.

My Quick List of The Best Whole House Water Filters for 2020 and beyond.


18 BEST Best Whole House Water Filters Reviews for 2020

Best Overall: AquaOx

Specifications :

    • Dimensions: 62 x 10"
    • Weight: 115 lbs
    • Flow Rate: 15 GPM
    • Capacity: 2,000,000 gallons
    • Filter Stages: 7
 

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Overview:

This AquaOx is our top pick for the best whole water filtration system. This 7-stage filter removes 71 contaminants, including iron, chlorine, and lead.

Thanks to the thoroughness of the model, your water will taste better, and you will have less chalk buildup in sinks around your home.

It has a 15 gallons per minute flow rate. And the Fleck Digital head of the AquaOx is available in 2 sizes – regular and XL. The XL head is an excellent addition for large houses with more than 4 bathrooms.

It is a sizeable investment. However, the backwash mechanism means you will never spend a penny on replacement cartridges. Plus, the manufacturer’s 10-year or two-million gallons guarantee is impressive.

Pros

  • Massive filter housing
  • No maintenance required
  • Excellent water pressure

Cons

  • Very expensive

What we liked:

  • Backwash Mechanism: The automatic, self-cleaning mechanism is quite advantageous. One advantage is never having to spend money on costly cartridges. The second is no maintenance required. You will love not having to remember when you last changed your filter.
  • Effective 7-stage filtration: The AquaOx is in a class by itself by removing 71 types of contaminants, except fluoride. It features a pre-sediment filter, catalytic carbon filter media, KDF, activated coconut shell carbon, garnet, and a filter-AG for premium water purification. You can also add an extra DF filter to remove bacteria, viruses, and other organic matter. This process will improve the health benefits of your water.

What we didn’t like:

  • Expensive: The initial investment needed is expensive. The manufacturer does offer a no-interest payment plan. Given the advanced technology, good customer service, and the strength of the unit's performance, it ensures water safety for the next 10-years.
  • 7-year warranty: The 7-year warranty on the product is disappointing. A 10-year warranty would be a better fit in line with the 10-year performance guarantee.

Best for City Water: SpringWell CF1

Specifications :

    • Dimensions: 9 x 52″
    • Weight: 62 lbs
    • Flow Rate: 9-12 GPM
    • Capacity: 1, 000,000 gallons
    • Filter Stages: 4

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Overview:

As one of the highest-quality, best-priced options on the market, the SpringWell CF1 provides odorless, tasteless water. Best suited for city water filtering, it uses 4-stages inclusive of premium coconut carbon and KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) media to remove chlorine, chloramine, PFOA, PFAS PFOS, heavy metals, herbicides, and more.

Furthermore, at the time of writing, the SpringWell CF1 achieved 4.8 stars out of 5 on Amazon. The innovative technology design increases the contact of water with the media, maximizing cleansing up to 99.6 percent.

Since media changes are necessary after 1,000,000 gallons, you will not need a filter replacement until the next 10-years. Within that time, you can enjoy water pressure is between 25 and 80 PSI and a 9 GPM (gallons of water per minute) flow rate.

In addition to the 6-month satisfaction guarantee, there is a lifetime warranty on all parts. And lastly, an easy installation kit to follow.

Pros

  • DIY-friendly
  • 4-stage water filter
  • Extended filter lifespan
  • No electricity needed

Cons

  • Quite large
  • No replacement filter

What we liked:

  • Long Filter Life: The lifetime warranty on the parts is very comforting. You will not have to worry about the product malfunctioning anytime soon after buying. At the same time, this means low maintenance and upkeep responsibilities. The stainless steel design also reduces the chances of rusting.
  • Salt-free Softening System Add-on: If limescale and chalk residue annoys you or you wish for softer skin and hair, get the SpringWell CF1 filter/water softener combo. This salt-free softening system feature gives you bottle-quality water at every tap.

What we didn’t like:

  • Large Canister: Though best for city dwellers, the size of the canister will not fit into most municipal houses like apartments and condos.
 

Best for Well Water: iSpring WGB32BM

Specifications :

    • Dimensions: 5 x 20"
    • Weight: 45 lbs
    • Flow Rate: 15 GPM
    • Capacity: 100,000 gallons
    • Filter Stages: 3

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Overview:

The iSpring WGB32BM Whole House Water Filter is our top pick for well-supplied water. It uses three stages to filter sediment, chlorine, rust, pesticides, herbicides, and other contaminants, except fluoride and lead.

This model is not to be confused with the 2-stage iSpring WGB22B – as the iSpring WGB32B includes an extra cartridge to eliminate iron and manganese. Its easy installation means it is perfect for anyone who loves DIY projects.

After setup, you can expect a 15 gallons per minute water flow rate. Of note is its pricing, which is typically below a thousand, and its coconut carbon filter media meets NSF/ANSI certification standards. If you are unsure whether you want to splurge on whole house water filtration, the iSpring WGB32BM promises value for money.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • 3-stage design
  • Coconut carbon media

Cons

  • No drain – heavy when filled with water

What we liked:

  • Extends Appliance Lifespan: The iSpring WGB32BM heavily blocks sediment down to 5 microns. Its carbon filters also remove 99 percent of chlorine and 95 percent of chemicals like industrial solvents. This combined result lowers limescale buildup extending the life of your laundry machines, water heater, dishwasher, etc.
  • Effective Filtering: The machine keeps the concentration of dissolved solids consistent on each side. So, a healthy balance of minerals remains in your water.

What we didn’t like:

  • No Drain: Without additional support of plywood or stand, your pipe can break while holding up this system because there is no drain. The lack of a drain makes the canister very heavy when filled with water. Always remember to seal the connections with Teflon tape as leaks are common.
  • Short Lifespan: The unit is quite massive and will not fit into small spaces. Although suited for larger houses, the lifespan is only 12 months or 100,000 gallons before you need a new cartridge.

Best for Low Maintenance: Home Master HMF3SDGFEC

Specifications :

    • Dimensions: 24 x 9 x 25″
    • Weight: 48 lbs
    • Flow Rate: 15 GPM
    • Capacity: 100,000 gallons
    • Filter Stages: 3
   

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Overview:

The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC whole house filter uses three stages to clean your water. The first removes large components down to one micron. The second eliminates heavy metals, and the third stage rids water of chlorine and chemicals.

You will visibly notice the difference in the taste and clarity of your water as the four gradient density filter stops impurities better than most models.

Made by Home Master, this whole water filter is available in two product types. The HMF3SDGFEC improves well water, but the HMF2SMGCC best produces filtered water for municipal homes.

The manufacturer has given this unit a 2-year warranty. And a water filtering capacity of 95,000 gallons before the media needs replacing. Just note that there are a few drawbacks to the affordable pricing.

Pros

  • Reasonable pricing
  • Good instruction manual
  • 95 percent removal of contaminants like heavy metals

Cons

  • Low water flow
  • Leakage is common
  • Only removes 90 percent of iron in your water

What we liked:

  • Clear Instruction Manual: The product manual is helpful. It provides simple instruction for installation and will also guide you through cartridge replacement for a simple filter change.
  • 95 Percent Removal of Heavy Metals: Worry about sulfur, manganese, and other metals no more. This 3-stage system is excellent at riding water of metal impurities for truly tasteless tap water.

What we didn’t like:

  • Leakage is Common: Set aside time for the installation because it is difficult. To prevent leaks, you may need something firmer than waterproof tape. We recommend securing the copper fittings with plastic to avoid leaks.
  • Low Water Pressure: If you love water beating on your body like a hail storm while bathing, the water pressure is sure to frustrate. The maximum flow rate of the system is 10GPM. This water flow might not even be enough for most households.

Best for Lead: Aquasana OPTIMH20

Specifications :

    • Dimensions: 30 x 50 x 12.5
    • Weight:3 lbs
    • Flow Rate: 8 GPM
    • Capacity: 100,000 gallons
 

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Overview:

Best used for improving the taste and reducing water contamination, the Aquasana OPTIMH20 is another system with a 100,000-gallon capacity before the filter needs replacing. The filtration process uses ultra-dense carbon block media and has a flow rate of 8GPM.

Its key difference from most brand models is the ability to expel fluoride by 95 percent. Furthermore, it removes 97 percent of chlorine, plus 86 other contaminants, including lead, mercury, asbestos, and more.

If needed, you have the option to boost the results by adding a salt-free water conditioner and UV filter. Besides the Aquasana Rhino, the Aquasana OPTIMH20 is the only whole house water cleanser to eliminate 99% of lead and cysts. So, if lead contamination is a cause for concern in your area, this is the right choice.

Pros

  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Contains LED flow meter indicator
  • Filtration occurs without chemicals
  • NSF certified to reduce 99% lead and cysts
  • Ultra-dense activated carbon block filter system

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only 100,000 gallons before cartridge replacement
  • Less durable than the Rhino whole house filter

What we liked:

  • NSF certified to remove impurities: Impurities such as fluoride, lead, chromium, chlorine, arsenic, asbestos, and mercury do not stand a chance of getting into your water supply. This removal means less bodily exposure to harmful chemicals and metals for healthy, moisturized skin and hair.
  • Optional Features: The option to include a UV filter and softener systems also reduces the bacteria and hard water to which you expose your body and clothes. So, you suffer from less dry skin and clothes colors do not fade as fast.

What we didn’t like:

  • High maintenance: The filter will need changing in a year or every 100,000 gallons of water use. The machine also contains a sediment pre-filter that reduces silt down to 1 micron. To maintain that noticeable clarity in your water, you will have to change this pre-filter every 3-6 months.

Best Small Spaces: Culligan WH-HD200-C

Specifications :

    • Dimensions:48 x 8.26 x 16.33″
    • Weight: 3 lbs
    • Flow Rate: 4 GPM
 

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Overview:

If you do not have space at your disposal, then the Culligan WH-HD200-C is the perfect fit for your cramped space. You can easily house this compact whole house water filter in your residential home, condo, or apartment. It features 1″ stainless steel reinforced inlet/outlet connectors for a secure, leak-free connection.

Furthermore, it delivers safe water by removing sediment, rust, scale, dirt, sand, silt, chlorine taste, and odor.

But the unit is certified by WQA because the lead compliance is too low to meet NSF/ANSI 372 standards. Only the material safety and structural integrity receive NSF/ANSI certification. As a consolation, the technology features a WR-HD housing wrench, mounting bracket, filter life monitor, and filter monitor battery to aid long-term use of the system.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Removes rust very well
  • Small canister perfect for tiny spaces

Cons

  • Professional help needed for installation
  • Limited NSF/ANSI certification
  • Hard to unscrew when its time to filter replacement

What we liked:

  • Filter Life Monitor: The machine features a blue button at the front. It contains a small LED that blinks green for 3-6 months. Then it turns red indicating, the need for a filter change. This mechanism is helpful for anyone who needs a reminder to conduct regular upkeep. Plus, unlike most filters, the tank is transparent, allowing you to monitor the buildup of filtered debris in the canister.

What we didn’t like:

  • Hard to Unscrew: Similar to the installation process, changing the filter is not DIY-friendly. In general, the bypass valve is very stiff. We should note that several users had to change the O-ring with every filter change because it would stretch out. The recommended solution is a thicker O-ring, which will not stretch under the pressure of the wrench. However, such O-rings are more expensive.

Best for Small Houses: Filtersmart FS1000

Specifications :

    • Dimensions:2 x 11 x 11″
    • Weight:3 lbs
    • Flow Rate: 12 GPM
    • Capacity: 1,000,000 gallons
    • Filter Stages: 3
 

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Overview:

Designed to meet the purity needs of clients, the Filtersmart FS1000 is available in several sizes with the option to include a water softener. Most sizes are ideal for homes with 1-3 bathrooms. However, you can buy the larger model for a property with 4-6 bathrooms.

Another notable characteristic is that the model uses granulated coconut shell carbon filters that are NSF certified. Furthermore, the 1,000,000 gallons or 5-year guarantee means thousands of moments using clean, fresh water at home. As for inconveniences, you will need to change the sediment pre-filter every 8-10 months.

Two advantages are one, the easy to install design. And two, the fact that the unit can operate without electricity. So if light often disappears for lengthy periods in your area, you will not be without filtered water.

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • No electricity required for operation
  • Optional salt-free water softener prevents limescale and corrosion.
  • It removes chlorine, chloramine, organic matter, pesticides, herbicides, and industrial solvents.

Cons

  • Does not expel fluoride
  • Professional help necessary for installation
  • Only the primary filter has a 1,000,000 gallon lifespan

What we liked:

  • Lifetime warranty: This guarantee shows the manufacturer's belief in the quality of the product. You can, therefore, expect a very noticeable difference in your water supply for years.
  • Eco-friendly: Not only does this filter reduce your dependence on bottled water, but it also can operate without electricity. Additionally, the process of filtration used by the Filtersmart FS1000 whole house filter does not use salt or potassium, which is better for the environment.

What we didn’t like:

  • No Spare Parts: The installation pack does not come with excess fittings or a plastic wrench. If you need a few extra bots and such, the kit does not provide any additional pieces.

Best for Three-Stage Filtration: Express Water

Specifications :

    • Dimensions:5 x 8.5 x 29.5″
    • Weight: 65 lbs
    • Capacity: 15,000 gallons
    • Filter Stages: 3
 

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Overview:

The Express Water whole house filter is a product where design meets function. This product has the flexibility for mounted or unmounted installation.

Built into the design are 3-compulsory filter stages. That means, unlike alternative models, all the filters have to be installed and used. The first stage removes sediments.

The second stage is where the KDF filter traps heavy metals, chemicals, chloramine, and arsenic; plus inhibits microorganism growth. Finally, the activated carbon block stage improves water taste and drinkability by expelling pharmaceuticals, turbidity, and pesticides.

The 100% polypropylene made filters are quick and easy to replace. Furthermore, the manufacturer also provides on-demand support, proof of the seller’s commitment to keeping your system up and running. Still, the warranty is just one year. This guarantee is far below the quality satisfaction promise of most in the market.

Pros

  • Free lifetime support
  • Pressure gauges built-in the system
  • Durable design complete with standing stainless-steel frames
  • Removes over 80 different contaminants

Cons

  • Leaks are a common issue
  • Does not reduce Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

What we liked:

  • Customer Support: Whether you receive a defective model or want to learn more before buying, representatives are waiting to answer your questions. This support is refreshing in comparison to the industry standard set by most brands.

What we didn’t like:

  • Leaking: Sometimes, the leaking will be more than Teflon tape can handle. In such instances, a stronger sealant is essential to preventing water wastage. Add silicone grease to your cart when you are ready to install this whole house water system pick.
  • TDS Remain in Your Water Supply: All filters miss certain elements that prevent your water from being only made up of hydrogen and oxygen. For the Express Water unit, some amounts of inorganic salts like calcium, magnesium, potassium escape into your glass or bath.

Best for Organic Matter: Pelican UV Filter

Specifications :

    • Dimensions: 9 x 49″
    • Flow Rate: 16 GPM
    • Capacity: 600,000 gallons
 

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Overview:

Here’s a unit that includes the UV light capability rather than provides it as an add-on. The combined effect of filtration and UV treatment enhances the taste, color, and odor of water while destroying 99.9% of harmful microorganisms.

One significant advantage of the Pelican UV Filter is the stainless steel water chamber. What is not great is that both the small and large versions have a water pressure of 25 to 80 PSI. Instead, the flow rate and filter lifespan differ. The micro-unit has a flow rate of 16GPM and a lifespan of 600,000 gallons, whereas the massive unit has a flow rate of 34GPM and a lifespan of 1,000,000 gallons.

If, however, warranty is a big concern of yours, purchases come with a lifetime guarantee limited to select parts: the bypass valves, filter housings, in and out heads, and tanks.

Before buying, check the quality of your water. The effectiveness of this product extends beyond chlorine to kill microorganisms such as fungi, e-coli, cryptosporidium, and giardia.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Low maintenance
  • Kills organic matter
  • 5-year performance guarantee
  • A long-lasting stainless steel water chamber

Cons

  • No optional add-ons

What we liked:

  • Affordable: This model is understandably more expensive than the regular Pelican Filter because of the UV treatment feature. But it is far cheaper when compared to the cost of adding UV filters to other industry models. Users of the Pelican UV Filter, subsequently, get the same value for less money.

What we didn’t like:

  • No Filter Add-ons: The process starts and stops with the filters already inside the stainless steel tank. The design allows no room to incorporate the filtration benefits of additional treatments. If you decide to buy this model, you will just have to enjoy its whole house water treatment and UV disinfection system as-is for the product's entire lifespan.

Best Soft Water Results: Aquasana 1000 Rhino

Specifications :

    • Dimensions: 9 x 46 x 44″
    • Weight: 5 pounds
    • Flow Rate: 7 GPM
    • Capacity: 1,000,000 gallons
    • Filter Stages: 3
 

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Overview:

Duality is not foreign to the Aquasana 1000 Rhino. The Rhino whole house water filter can purify both well and municipality water. Complete with a pro-grade installation kit consisting of brass fittings, a pre-filter, a post-filter, and all the supports and shut-off valves you will need.

Unfortunately, the 1,000,000 gallon filter rule is only for the primary media. The sediment pre-filter needs changing every 3-6 months for municipal users, whereas the pre-filter of well-users calls for changing every 1-3 months.

There is also a post-filter that requires replacement. In the case of city dwellers, it is 6-12 months and 2-6 months for well-supplied houses. This post-filter is a carbon sub-micron, and it lowers water impurity down to 0.35 micron. Overall, the Rhino is stronger than the Aquasana OPTIMH20 and is worth consideration.

Pros

  • Reduces water’s hardens
  • Long-lasting primary filter
  • Excellent removal of sediment and chlorine

Cons

  • Low flow capacity
  • Professional help needed for both installation and filter replacement
  • Consistent cartridge replacement is expensive

What we liked:

  • Excellent Treatment Performance: You will observe the difference right after installation. The Aquasana 1000 Rhino eliminates 97 percent of chlorine, which is above the NSF standard. It is also good at removing microscopic particles of all types from sediment to water-soluble metals and lead.
  • Improves Your Water's pH: This water treatment system does more than expel the usual contaminants. Its copper-zinc oxidation media and crushed mineral stones raise the pH of your water to make it more alkaline.

What we didn’t like:

  • Maintenance Cost Add-up Fast: If your knowledge of plumbing is limited, learn fast. Or your plumbing bills will quickly add up. In addition to buying pre and post-filter media, you will need to set aside money to pay a plumber to conduct the upgrade to keep your water treatment at peak performance for freshwater daily.

How Does a Whole House Water Filter Work?

All these devices expel impurities from your water supply. So, the nasty particles you do not want to consume or touch your skin never flows through your home’s plumbing.

You may want to rid your water of hardness, chlorine, sand, chemicals, or bacteria. Therefore, complexity increases the more elements you want to remove.

In its simplest form, a whole house filter works by removing large debris first to prevent plumbing issues. At the next stage, chlorine and chloramines get filtered.

Some machines have an activated carbon or UV light stage to trap bacteria, metals, herbicides, and pesticides. Finally, the water passes along a very narrow tubing to leave behind any remaining sediments and organic material.

How to Choose the Best Whole House Water Filter?

Water filters come in many shapes, sizes, and functionalities. To get the best choice of whole house water filter, choose based on purpose, your water supply, cost, filter quality, maintenance requirements, and additional features.

  1. Check Your Water Quality

The first step is to confirm the impurities in your tap water. If you receive your water supply from a private supplier, well, or river, you can call a water specialist or use water testing kits to analyze the water quality.

However, if you receive water from the government, you can get the water quality index (WQI) report from your local supply office. These reports will help you understand the filtration type you need.

  1. Know Your Plumbing Flow Rate

It is ideal to buy a water filter with a flow rate of 1-2gpm per minute higher than your average home dispensers and appliances. A professional can help you decide. Since flow rates differ between appliances and faucets.

If your plumbing flow rate is lower than the filter pressure, the chances of your pipes bursting or leaking increases. And, if your plumbing flow rate is higher than the filter, you will have low water pressure and reduce the lifespan of your whole house filter.

  1. Consider The Life and Certification of The Filter System

The best brands usually provide a seller’s guarantee and include FDA and NSF-certified parts. Installation and regular maintenance with the manufacturer or certified plumber protects your warranty.

Mid-sized and large filters mean longer intervals between service periods. Low water pressure is often an indentation that your filter needs cleaning. We recommend keeping records of filter changes to maintain the life of your system.

The Benefits of Using Whole House Water Filters

A viable home filtration system supports your well-being. You are probably very familiar with the benefits of clean water. Here is a reminder of why a whole house filter is beneficial to you:

  1. Clean Water

It reduces exposure to chlorine, sand, metals, and other debris; ensuring your family drink and use only clean, filtered water in your home.

  1. Disease Prevention and Convenience

Regardless of the level of chlorine in your supply, viruses and fungi do survive. Filtration is effective in expelling harmful organic material, which can cause diseases and infections.

Filters also provide flexibility and the convenience of getting water right where you are rather than at select sinks and dispensers.

  1. Improved Wellness

Chorine contributes to the taste of tap water. Once removed, your drinking water will taste better. Plus, chlorine and other chemicals cannot become airborne to affect people who suffer from asthma and allergies.

  1. Better Skin

Even if you do not get an additional water softening device, your skin and hair benefits because a whole house filter lowers the hardness of your water supply. For example, you may notice your hands feel soft and tender without wearing gloves while washing the dishes.

How to Install a Whole House Water Filter

  1. Drain Your Pipes

First, shut off the main water supply valve. Next, turn on the lowest level faucet to release system pressure and drain any water in the pipes.

  1. Cut the Pipe

Identify the roomiest location along your pipes, then mark the exact point with the template provided in the kit. Space will allow for easy removal and replacement during periodic filter changes.

Use a pipe cutter or mini-cutter in tight spaces. Align the blade with the marked section, next tighten the handle and rotate until it cuts all the way through. When complete, expel burrs of the freshly cut pipe with a reamer blade.

  1. Insert the Fittings

Attach the compression nuts, fittings, and filter port to one end. And repeat on the next. For the filter to work well, follow the manufacturer’s guide to position the ‘in’ and ‘out’ ports correctly. The “in” port should be closer to the water meter; the “out” should point toward the water heater. Tighten for a snug fit and apply waterproof tape to secure the seal.

  1. Turn Your Water Back On

With the system in the ‘off’ position, slowly open your main supply valve and check for leaks. Turn the filtration system from ‘off’ to ‘filter’ again check for leaks. If there is dripping, tighten until it stops.

  1. Change the Filter Periodically

At the recommended interval, change the filter cartridge. Turn off the main valve. Place a bucket under the filter unit. Use the filter handle to remove the canister from its housing.

Pour the water out of the tank, discard the old cartridge, and wipe the tank down with a clean cloth. Insert a new cartridge and rehouse the tank. Return the system valve to ‘filter’ and slowly turn on the main water supply.

Installation Tutorial

If you prefer to see someone in the act of installing a whole house filtration system, check out this Youtube video:

Conclusion

If you are concerned about the water in your taps, a whole house water system is a sensible investment. Our review of the best comprehensive filters yields three great picks to suit most home situations.

The AquaOx is the best overall pick. Not only is it excellent for both city and well water, but it also is customizable to the size of your home.

The iSpring WGB32B is best for city water at an affordable price. And the SpringWell WS1 is best for well water supplied homes.

Whichever model you chose, weigh the pros and cons to get the best one for healthy water in the long term. We recommend not skimping on the investment to ensure high product quality and minimal maintenance.

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