You are likely aware that the water supply from your tap at home is not clean enough to be used for drinking or cooking. And you’re right!
What Contaminates our Tap Water?
Recent research indicates that not only is there contaminants in tap water such as heavy metals, excessive minerals, and other chemicals, but that even additives such as chlorine which is used to purify water are not suitable for your health. Some minerals such as magnesium and calcium may also occur naturally in water, making it hard. Additionally, as the water moves in the pipes, chemical reactions occur that may contaminate it causing unpleasant taste or odors.
How Can Tap Water Be Made Safe for Drinking?
To that end, many water purification systems have been deployed to filter out contaminants and make the water we drink soft, tasty and pure. These include water ionizers, water filters, faucet-mount filters, and water distillers to mention a few.
Still, because many of these machines don’t come cheap, you may feel that they are out of your reach. And sometimes you may need a water filtration system on-the-go. Does the market cater to these needs? Absolutely! The humble water filter pitcher is the answer.
What exactly is a Water Filter Pitcher?
Simply put, a water filter pitcher is a small plastic jug with filters that arrests contaminants leaving the water clean and safe for drinking. Sometimes also called “pour-through filters,” it filters water through a charcoal filter located under a reservoir. While it’s true that some models are bulky and expensive, most water filter pitchers are affordable and small enough to fit into your refrigerator.
Pitchers are very simple to use. You open the lid and add tap water to the top and then gravity takes over. The water is forced into the reservoir and through the filters. After some minutes the water is purified and ready to drink. Most pitchers filter about one or two gallons at a time.
How Do They Work?
As we mentioned earlier, the pitchers have a charcoal filter made with activated carbon fiber. The basic idea behind the water pitchers is that the activated carbon filter “grabs” contaminants from the tap water as they bind to the carbon molecules. These replaceable filters are porous and have a large surface area to maximize efficiency. The activated carbon fiber filters out contaminants and impurities through an age-old process called Adsorption. This process ensures chlorine, organic pollutants, and other chemicals are adequately captured.
Unfortunately, most pitchers have limits on their achievements. For instance, they will not make hard water soft; neither will they filter out fluoride, nitrates, microbes and heavy metals such as lead. Therefore, the best way to ensure that a water filter pitcher is effective for you is first to get your tap water tested to reveal which contaminants are present in it. Once you establish this, it will be easier to decide on what is the best water filter pitcher to buy for your situation.
Why Are Some Pitchers Better Than Others?
The market provides for a wide variety of pitchers that differ in size, cost, and efficiency. Generally, the cheaper the pitcher, the worse job it did in filtering out the contaminants and toxins. Recent research that appears in the journal Water Science Technology: Water Supply reveals that pitchers are not created equal.
For example, those that filtered water fastest and which were made exclusively of coconut-based activated carbon removed 50% or less of the contaminants and microbes from the water. However, the purifier that filtered water at the slowest rate, and which was made from a blend of active carbon filters, successful removed all the pollutants.
Likewise, some pitchers will also change the acidity level of the water, commonly known as the pH level, and make it more alkaline. This feature is important because the chemicals and minerals present in most tap water make it more acidic than is healthy to drink. Purified alkaline water is reportedly beneficial to your health and highly recommended to patients suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. (On a note of caution, alkaline water should not be administered to children under the age of 3).
What to Look For in a Water Pitcher Filter
As we just mentioned, there are many different types of water pitchers in the market. Irrespective of this, there are key elements you need to check for in whichever one you choose. Here are some of these:
The amount of drinking water that you and your family consume every day will influence the size of the pitcher you need. Likewise, you need to consider if a larger pitcher will fit into your refrigerator.
Moderately fast flow rate:
You want to confirm how fast or slow the water flows because if it takes too long, then the unit becomes inconvenient. Bear in mind that the type of water filter used determines the flow rate.
An effective filtration system:
Most pitchers come with porous carbon activated filters which absorb impurities and odors as the water flows through them. Moreover, pitchers with multistage filters are highly effective in removing contaminants from water than those with a single filter.
A filter change indicator:
This is a critical feature to look for in a pitcher. It is the most accurate way to determine if your filter needs replacement. Additionally, some pitchers may include a timer to alert you when the filtration process is complete.
An extended warranty:
Usually, pitchers come with a 3-month warranty. Still, the longer the warranty, the more confidence you will have with the product you purchase.
Over and above manufacturer’s tests, it is crucial that before buying a pitcher you confirm that independent organizations such as NSF International have tested it.
How to Get the Most From Your Water Pitcher Filter
First, ensure you carefully read the instructions for your water pitcher filter, including how often you should replace your filter, how to properly use your replaceable filter and also how to interpret the filter cartridge life indicator (that’s is if the model you choose has one).
With regular use, the activated carbon fibers will gradually get clogged with impurities, rendering the pitcher ineffective. Thus, to get its full benefit, it is important that you strictly follow the manufactures instructions on how often they recommend filter replacement. Disregarding this recommendation may do more harm, bearing in a mind that these filters can host harmful bacteria when clogged with impurities.
Important to note: when you first install a new filter, don’t forget to rinse it thoroughly before use. Be cautious though that you don’t run hot water in a pitcher as it will reduce the effectiveness of the filter.
You and your family deserve nothing but the best, even when it comes to water. Filtered water is precisely that: water of higher quality, cleaner and safer than tap or bottled water. Water pitchers are helpful in attaining this quality at an affordable price.
We’ve enlightened you on what is the best water filter pitcher to buy, but we are ready to go the extra mile and make it much easier for you to purchase one for your needs.
Please check out our article in which we have shortlisted the 5 Best Water Pitcher Filtering Systems For Your Kitchen.