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5 Best Whole House Water Filtration Systems

I will help you decide if a whole house water filtration system is right for you. First, I will discuss water filtration at length and hopeful answer some of your questions. Next, I will review specific products to fit your needs. Finally, we will discuss water testing and other additional information you will need to know.

Our health relies on us drinking pure clean water. Most get their water from the municipal water supply. This water can be full of harmful contaminants that can cause health problems, especially if consumed over a long period of time.

Well water, also, can also have contaminants that can cause drinking water to be toxic. Those with well water should be concerned about sediment, iron, pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals. Whole house water systems can be an easy way to get clean water throughout the entire house, but it is important to know what system is right for your home.

Why a whole house system?

  • Ingest clean water from any faucet in the house.
  • Improve the taste and smell of water
  • Avoid inhaling chlorine and other harmful chemicals while bathing
  • Improve the life of household appliances like the dishwasher
  • Improved the smell and longevity of clothing
  • Improved quality of skin and hair
  • No wastewater
  • Does not remove healthy minerals
  • Removal of VOCs

Types of Water Filtration Systems

There are 2 types of systems: City (municipal water) or systems for well water.

City Water: Removal of chlorine, chloramines and VOC’s

Well Water: Removal of iron, heavy metals, pesticides, sediments, and chemical toxins

Next, you want to know how many stages or filters you should have. If your looking just to remove a specific substance for your water then you might be able to get away with a one stage filter. For example if you only want to remove heavy metals, you could get a one stage system that focuses only on heavy metals. However, the more stages you have, the cleaner the water.

Ultraviolet (UV) light can be used additionally to kill any bacteria that may have escaped through the filters. A UV light is sold as an add-on with most systems.

What are VOCs?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released from burning coal, gasoline, or natural gas. In addition they can also be found in commercial and residential products including paints, degreasers and pesticides. These VOCs can seep into the water and as a result cause harm to humans and to the environment. The best way to know if your water contains VOCs is to have it tested.

How to Install a Whole House Water System

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released from burning coal, gasoline, or natural gas. In addition they can also be found in commercial and residential products including paints, degreasers and pesticides. These VOCs can seep into the water and as a result cause harm to humans and to the environment. The best way to know if your water contains VOCs is to have it tested.

Size Matters

Whole house systems take up a lot of space. Make sure to consider this before your purchase. You will want to have enough room to not only to install the system but to be able to make repairs if and when needed.   

Will a Whole House Water Filtration System Soften Water?

No. These systems do not soften hard water. Most filtration companies do sell water softeners as add-ons. They can be installed alongside the filtration system at the main water supply.

Micron Rating and Flow Rates

Microns are the tiny openings in the filter that keep bacteria and other contaminants from getting though. The lower the micron rating the cleaner the water. That is to say, the smaller the number the better the filtration. Typically micron levels will range from 0.35 to 25. This is a big range and it will depend on how well you need your water cleaned as to which level you choose. For those that need a rating lower than 0.35 you may want to consider a reverse osmosis system. These are point of use systems that fit under your kitchen sink and can filter down to 0.0001 microns. However, lower micron rates can cause a drop in flow rate. For this reason, you would not want to use reverse osmosis to filter the entire house.

With flow rate, you want a higher number. Most systems ranging between 10-20 gpm (gallons per minute). The higher the number the better the chances of have strong water pressure throughout the house.

Next, I would like to review with you some of the most popular whole house water filtration systems. There are many on the market, however, the review below includes some of my favorite systems.

Aquasana 1,000,000 Gallon Pro Rhino  – Best Whole House Water Filtration System for Longest Lasting Filter

Uses: Municipal water

Review Summery: Aquasana offers the longest lasting filter. While you do have to change the pre and post filters on a regular basis the main filter lasts for 10 years. It’s made in the USA and the system does not require backflushing. The Rhino – Pro does have water bypass in the event of a clog, which is great. The add-ons, like the water softener, and UV light, are a definite plus. Aquasana offers a 10-year limited warranty, that is better than most other companies.

Reduces: chlorine, chloramines, pesticides, heavy metals, sediments, rust, silt, VOCs and industrial solvents.

Aquasana is quality name brand in water filtration. The Rino is made for city water.

The Rhino Pro definitely improves the taste and smell of water throughout the whole house. Aquasana is unique in that it offers a 10-Year or 1,000,000 gallon filter. You won’t be spending additional money changing out the main filter.

This system will be installed at your main water feed, where water enters the house. Water will next flow into pre-filter that catches rust and sediments. The second stage is a copper-zinc and mineral stone filter that reduces 97% of chlorine. The third stage is the activated carbon filter that reduces pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful compounds. The last filter reduces any remaining sediment. Their multi-flow technology reduces clogging without backflushing.

Keep in mind that installation is not easy and may require a professional. They do offer a professional installation kit which could make things a little easier. However, if you do not have any plumbing experience, you may want to hire someone.
Aquasana offers a variety of add-ons like a water softener. Softeners can get a bit pricey, however, they will be a necessary for those that have really hard water. Another add-on that they offer is the UV light. A ultraviolet light can help kill any bacteria that may have been small enough to make through the microns.

Aquasana also offers add-ons like a salt-free water softener and UV light that can kill viruses.

Filter Replacement
  • 1,000,000 gallon dual filtration tank: 10 years
  • Pre-filters every 2 months
  • Post-filter every 6 months
  • UV light (if applicable) yearly
Specs
  • Flow rate: 7 gpm
  • Micron rating: 0.35 micron
  • Warranty: 10-year limited
Pros
  • 1,000,000 gallon/10 year dual filtration tank
  • Reduces: chlorine, chloramines, pesticides, heavy metals, sediments, rust, silt, VOCs and industrial solvents.
  • UV light and Water Softener Add On Available
Cons
  • Installation is challenging and may require a professional
  • Water pressure may be lower for larger households

Home Master HMF3SDGFEC Whole House 3-Stage Water Filter  – Best Whole House Water Filtration System for Well Water

Uses: Well-water only

Review Summery:  This is a great option for well water users. It has fantastic water pressure which is important when it comes to showering. It improves the smell and taste of water while making it free of harmful contaminants. It’s a solid unit that will last a long time. They offer a 2-year warranty and it can be used with or without a water softener. Be aware that this does not remove iron bacteria.

Reduces: Iron, fine sediment, toxic chemicals, contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, rust, odors and foul tastes

The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC is specifically made for well water. Expect strong water pressure with this system, up to 15-gallons per minute. This means not only will you be able to take a decent shower but you should be able to use multiple faucets and appliances without the water pressure being affected.Home Master HMF3SDGFEC Whole House 3-Stage Water Filter

Next, consider the micron rating. These filters will remove any particles greater than 1 micron. Specifically, it is removing up to 95% of iron, fine sediment, toxic chemicals, contaminants and odors from your well water. This system also removes rust, herbicides, and pesticides. In addition, the Home Master offers a 100,000-gallon capacity filter that can provide clean water throughout the entire house for 1 year. The filters are easy to change and, fortunately, you can use either the company filters or cheaper third-party filters.

Home Master offers a variety of products for both municipal water and well water. They are known for providing long-lasting durable products that require less maintenance. Lastly, they offer a 2-year warranty on their whole house water systems.

Filter Replacement
  • 1st Stage Filter 6-12 months
  • 2nd Stage Filter - Depending on iron levels
  • 3rd Stage Filter - 100,000 gallons
Specs
  • Flow rate: 15 gpm
  • Micron rating: 1 micron
  • Warranty: 2 - year limited
Pros
  • Improves the smell and taste of water
  • Removes contaminants specific to well water users
  • Removes 95% of iron
  • Great water pressure - better than some of its competitors
  • Option to use third-party filters
Cons
  • Filters can be expensive
  • Does not remove iron bacteria
  • Not designed to remove Hydrogen Sulfide

Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter  – Best Whole House Water Filtration System Overall

Uses: Both city and well water

Review Summery: This is my favorite because it can treat both city and well water. It’s specific to removing heavy metals but just as good at reducing chlorine and chloramine. In total this Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water System filters out 80 contaminants. The pressure gauge, release valves, and clear housing make it very unique. They are trusted company and offer a 1 year warranty.

Reduces: Lead, Iron, Mercury, Sulfur, Copper, Aluminum, Chromium, Nickel, Cadmium, Turbidity, Rust, Chlorine, Chloramine, Hydrogen Sulfate, Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides, Silt, Cloudiness, Fungi, Viruses, and Odors.

The Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House 3 Stage Water Filter can treat both city and well water. They offer several whole house water filtration systems but this one is unique in that it focuses on heavy metals. Why would you want a system that focuses on heavy metals? Because lead, arsenic,mercury and cadmium are all heavy metals that are poisonous for humans. Unfortunately these heavy metals can make it into our water supply and cause health problems. Not only that, heavy metals can wreak havoc on the home. For example, rust and iron can stain your bathroom fixtures and clothes. If you have concerns about the heavy metals in your water supply then you might want to give this particular unit your attention.

In addition to removing heavy metals, it also removes chlorine and chloramine commonly found in the municipal water supply. So this means cleaner water that is better for your body, skin, hair and lungs.

Filters included are a sediment filter (to remove small particles), kinetic degradation fluxion filter (to remove heavy metals), and an activated carbon block (to remove chlorine and volatile organic compounds). The system offers a pressure range of 20-80 psi and a production rate of 0.25 gallons per second. The filters are easy to change, just a quick twist, and the clear housing allows you to check for clogs. Keep in mind that these filters should be changed every 6 months or sooner if water pressure starts to decrease.

The pressure gauge and release valve are a great addition to this system and really put it above the rest. Why? Because they let you watch the pressure and easily de-pressurize when changing filters.

Express is a well known brand that offers both reverse osmosis and whole house water filtration systems. They deliver a quality product with great customer service.

Filter Replacement
  • 6 months
Specs
  • Flow rate: 7-15 gpm
  • Micron rating: 5 micron
  • Warranty: 1 - year limited
Pros
  • Removes 80 contaminants
  • Removes heavy metals, chlorine and chloramine
  • Pressure gauge
  • Release valve
  • Easy to change filters
  • Clear housing making clogs more visible
  • Bypass system that lets you continue to get water even if there is a clog
Cons
  • Using the release valve to drain the water out of the casing during filter changes can be a bit messy.

iSpring WGB22B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System  – Best Whole House Water Filtration System for Average City Water

Uses: City (Municipal) Water that is not heavily chlorinated

Review Summery: I like this system for it’s big blue filter housings that keep water pressure strong. It’s a well know company in water filtration and the product is well made with a bypass system to keep water flowing even if there is a clog in the filters. It’s a good system at a good price and will work best with water that is not too chlorinated.

Reduces: sediments, chlorine, chloramines, pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, odors, rust and other contaminants

This system is going to be great for those whose water is not heavily chlorinated or highly contaminated. For example, it’s great for making the average municipal water supply taste and smell better.iSpring WGB22B 2-Stage 20-Inch Big Blue Whole House Water Filter 1-Inch NPT Carbon

This is a two stage system. That means water goes through two filters to remove sediments, chlorine, chloramines, pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, odors, rust and other contaminants. However it’s good note that this system keeps water pressure high. How? Because the cartridges are bigger than many of its competitors, measuring 20 in. x 4.5 in. This system gives a flow rate 15 gpm, which is not bad.

Also, the iSpring WGB22B has a long filter life. Expect the system to filter 100,000 gallons of water which provides about 1 year of pure drinking water.

Lastly, it’s installed at the main water supply and offers clean water throughout the entire home and unlike a reverse osmosis system it will leave in healthy minerals. Professional installation is not required but you will need some basic understanding of plumbing. So, expect to spend 4-8 hours on instillation.

Filter Replacement
  • 1 year
Specs
  • Flow rate: 15 gpm
  • Micron rating: 5 micron
  • Warranty: 1 - year limited
Pros
  • Large filter housing that allow for better water pressure
  • Reasonably priced system best for light cleaning of city water
  • Replacement filters are not too expensive
  • By-pass system in the event of clogged filter
Cons
  • Not for heavily chlorinated water
  • The large filter housing may be an issue for those with limited space

APEC 3-Stage Whole House Water Filter System  – Best Whole House Water Filtration System for Removal of Iron

Uses: Both City (Municipal) and Well-Water

Review Summery: I like this system for its big blue housing that allows for full water pressure. The washable reusable sediment filter is also a big plus. APEC is one of the big well know brands that offers great customer service and has a lot of experience in not only delivering an on point system but in also giving back to the community with their APEC Water Systems Donation Program. Do be aware that this system is not for those that have a strong rotten egg smell in their water as this system does not remove hydrogen sulfide.

Reduces: sediment, dirt, sand, silt, rust, chlorine, chemicals, iron, metallic taste, odors and VOCs

The APEC 3 Stage Whole House Water Filter offers three stages of cleaning and purifying water. The first stage extracts dirt, silt, sand and by using a sediment filter. The second stage focuses on reducing iron and the third stage removes chlorine and VOCs.APEC 3-Stage Whole House Water Filter System

The system is unique in that if offers a washable reusable sediment filter made of pleated polyester, this will definitely extend the life of this filter and makes it unique to other systems. The carbon filter is also long lasting and should last for about one year or 100,000 gallons.

This system removes iron from the water thus eliminating ugly brown and orange stains that can accumulate in the toilet and shower. Next it will improve the taste of water by eliminating any metallic taste or odour. Lastly, it will remove chlorine and organic compounds and improve the overall purity of your drinking water.

APEC also offers the big blue housing. These jumbo type filters allow for maximum water flow thus eliminating any dropage in water pressure.
APEC has 20 years of experience in water filtration and is well know in both whole house and reverse osmosis filtration systems.

Filter Replacement
  • Reusable sediment filter
  • Carbon filter should last 1 year
Specs
  • Does not affect flow rate
  • Micron rating: 25 micron
  • Warranty: 1 - year limited
Pros
  • Does not affect flow rate
  • Reusable sediment filter
  • Eliminates iron stains
Cons
  • Not designed to treat lead, hydrogen sulfide or fluoride

iFilters LWH-D Dual Stage Whole House Water Filter System  – Best Whole House Water Filtration System for the Price

Uses: Both City (Municipal) and Well-Water

Review Summery: This is a good option for those on a budget but it wouldn’t be my first choice due to it not having a bypass system. The bypass system allows you to continue to get water even in the event of a clogged filter. That being said it is low maintenance, easy to install and has filters that last for up to 6 months.

Reduces: sediment, silt, chlorine, sand, rust, and dirt

This system is one of the most affordable options for whole house water filtration. It comes with 2 stages. The first stage being the sediment filter and the second stage is the carbon filter. This system is best for removing sediment, silt, chlorine, sand, rust, and dirt.  So, it will improve the taste and smell of water just like the pricier models. The clear housing allows viewing of any possible clogs. Which I have to say is a nice convenience.iFilters Whole House 2 Stage Filter

This system can be used for city water or well water, however it doesn’t remove heavy metals. It has a flow rate of 3 gpm and pressure relief buttons to make changing filters easier.

Filter Replacement
  • 6 Months
  • Carbon filter should last 1 year
Specs
  • Flow rate: up to 3gpm
  • Micron rating: 5 micron
  • Warranty: 30 Days
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Clear housing allowing you to see clogs
Cons
  • No bypass system
  • Changing filters can be messy
  • 30 Dy Warranty

How to Change Whole House Water Filters

Some systems come with a release valve that allow for easy change of water filters. Don’t worry if your system does not have this feature, it will just require you to take a few more steps. Consider this video on how to change whole house water filters.

Should I have an Ultraviolet Light with my Whole House Water System?

Ultraviolet (UV) light is an effective way to treat bacteria. Bacteria that are smaller than the microns in your filters can make it through the water filtration system. UV light will help eliminate these bacteria. It’s a chemical free option that is safe to use. Most systems only require a bulb change every year. UV lights work best with removing bacteria but will not remove sediments, heavy metals or other contaminants that are removed by your whole house system. Most companies offer UV light as an option for their whole house water filtration systems.

Conclusion

The system you buy will depend on your water filtration needs. Remember that a reverse osmosis system will filter better than a whole house system but will not be able to be installed at your main water supply; so you won’t get the benefits that come along with the whole system like better air quality during showering or improving the life of appliances. Some people use both whole house and reverse osmosis to insure the best quality of water. Reverse osmosis systems usually sits under the kitchen sink and provides the cleanest drinking water to that one faucet. Also remember that a whole house system will not soften water, you will need an additional water softener it you have hard water. Consider too, the added benefits of having a UV light filter installed with you whole house system. This will make sure to sterilize the water and remove bacteria that still may be in the water.