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Tap water can be a convenient supply of drinkable water. Well not until it starts tasting funny. The problem with tap water is that it may contain harmful substances such as sediment, chlorine, VOCs, and others that may make it taste weird or may have harmful effects to the body. 

The solution to this are activated carbon water filters that can effectively eradicate unpleasant flavors and odors out of your tap water while retaining the minerals that are beneficial to us. 

Best carbon water filters

Frizzlife MK99 Under Sink Carbon Water Filter

Sale
Frizzlife Under Sink Water Filter System-NSF/ANSI 53&42 Certified High Capacity Direct Connect Under Counter Drinking Water Filtration System-0.5 Micron Removes 99.99% Lead, Chlorine, Bad Taste & Odor
  • [Two-stage Advanced Water Purifier With 0.5 Micron]: The Frizzlife MK99 Water Filtration System includes a...
  • [Fits both 1/2" and 3/8" cold water line]: Super Easy Installation. Come with 3/8" Directly Connect hoses that fit...
  • [Best Auto Shut Off Design]: Utilizing quick change twist-in installation design makes it take less than 3 minutes...

On top of our list and our overall favorite is this one from Frizzlife. It houses a two-stage filter system that takes the sediment, chlorine, and VOCs out while simultaneously removing lead and heavy metals as well. You can rely on this to give you  pure-tasting water. 

Another great thing about this is the easy installation. Simpy connect it to the sink system and you’re good to go! Overall, it should take you just around 15 minutes to do so without having to install new faucets or other tools. It comes with a built-in shutoff valve so you won’t have to turn the water off every time you need to replace the filter.

Take note though that while this comes with plastic wrenches, we had to use our own tools to make things easier. 

Pros

  • Built-in shutoff valve
  • Fast and easy installation
  • 2 GPM
  • 1600 gallons per filter

Cons

  • Useless plastic wrenches

Omnipure Inline Carbon Water Filter

Omnipure K2333-KK 3/8" Quick Connect Inline GAC Water Filter
  • Chlorine Reduction: Class 1
  • Flow Rate: .5 GPM
  • Maximum Pressure: 125 PSIG

A more affordable option and our bet for best value is the Omnipure Inline Carbon Water Filter. It is affordable and incredibly simple while doing the job beautifully. It efficiently provides clean and pure-tasting water without any foul smell. 

As the name suggests, this connects in-line with ⅜-inch quick connect fittings. Installation is quick and easy. However, the flow rate is quite slow at 0.5 gallons per minute. But despite that, we still think this is a great filter considering its price. Plus, it has a lifespan of up to a year or up to 1,000 gallons. 

Pros

  • Very cheap
  • Lifespan of a year
  • ⅜” quick connect fittings for easy installation

Cons

  • Low flow rate

Aquasana Whole House Carbon Water Filter

Sale
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System - Carbon & KDF Home Water Filtration - Filters Sediment & 97% Of Chlorine - 600,000 Gl - EQ-600
  • Clean, Great Tasting Water From Every Tap In Your Home - Removes 97% of chlorine and reduces harmful contiminants...
  • High-Performance Filter System - Carbon & KDF filtration media engineered to maximize contaminant reduction while...
  • Cost Efficient & Long Lasting - Clean water for less than $0.01 a gallon - Save twice as much compared to other...

The Aquasana EQ-600 is a whole-house solution which is great for households with a significant number of members. The system holds an impressive six-year lifespan or up to 60,000 gallons which will make your investment worthwhile. But take note that you still need to replace the pre- and post-filters regularly or every 3 months. It has a high flow rate of 7 GPM which the whole family can truly enjoy!

Pros

  • Enough for the whole family
  • 7 GPM flow rate
  • 6-year or 600,000-gallon lifespan
  • 6-year warranty
  • Low maintenance

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Pre- and post-filter replacement required

iSpring 3-Stage Carbon Under-Sink Water Filters

Sale
iSpring US31 Classic 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filtration System for Drinking, Tankless, High Capacity, Sediment + Carbon + Carbon (Newest Version)
  • [Classic Drinking Filter]:The water flows through PP sediment filtration, dual CTO carbon filtration, and the 2nd...
  • [Fresh Healthy Water Supplier]: The on-demand fast flow rate of the iSpring US31 allows it to meet the widest...
  • [Excellent Quality and Design]: Features beautiful European-designed brushed nickel all-metal faucet and clear...

This water filter from iSpring uses a dedicated faucet specifically for filtered drinking water. It offers three stages of filtration to effectively eradicate arsenic, heavy metals, lead, parasites, and bacteria. Conveniently, a filter will last about 6-12 months before a replacement is necessary. However, it can take up a large amount of space under your sink and it also comes at a higher price than other options.

Pros

  • 3-stage filtration
  • Has own faucet
  • 6-12 months of filter lifespan
  • Controls bacteria and parasites

Cons

  • Consumes huge space
  • Expensive

Camco TastePure RV Carbon Water Filter

Sale
Camco 40043 TastePure RV/Marine Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector | Protects Against Bacteria | Reduces Bad Taste, Odors, Chlorine and Sediment in Drinking Water
  • Safe water matters: GAC (Granular Activated Carbon) filtration greatly reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine, and...
  • Large capacity filtration: Large capacity in line water filter lasts an average of 3 months
  • Multiple uses: Can be attached to any standard gardening or water hose to provide healthier drinking water and...

Another affordable choice is this Camco 40043 TastePure filter. It’s quite versatile as you can use it in your kitchens, sinks, and even in your RV! It comes with a hose protector to prevent kinks from taking place so you’re sure to always have a good running filtered water. This unit is easy to install and replace, which you might have to do so every 3 months. Take note though that this filter can only remove particles down to 20 microns in size only.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install and replace
  • Hose protector prevents kinks

Cons

  • Should be replaced every 3 months
  • Can only filter to 20 microns

iSpring WGB21B Whole House Water Filtration System

Sale
iSpring WGB21B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System, with 10" x 4.5" Sediment CTO(Chlorine, Taste, and Odor) Filter, 1" Inlet/Outlet
  • [Two-Stage Effective Filtration] The whole house water filter has 1st-Stage premium 5-micron polypropylene sediment...
  • [Superb Filtration Capacity] 10"x4. 5" replaceable whole house water filters can provide up to a full year of clean...
  • [Easy Installation and Filter Change] The system comes pre-assembled onto the mounting bracket for a streamlined,...

The iSpring WGB21B Whole House Water Filtration System will give off 15 gallons per minute of filtered water to each faucet in your residence. The filter cartridges will last up to a year for a family of four until it needs replacing. That’s about 50,000-gallon filter life. 

While the high flow rate and the great lifespan comes at a price, we’d say that it truly is worth it and more! But there are other options in the market if you need a cheaper one that works as great.

Pros

  • 50,000 gallon lifespan
  • Filters all the water in a home
  • 15 GPM flow rate

Cons

  • Pricey
  • May require installation help from a professional

APEX EXPRT MR-2050 Carbon Countertop Water Filter

Sale
APEX EXPRT MR-2050 Dual Countertop Drinking Water Filter - 5 Carbon Block and 5 Stage Mineral Cartridge - Alkaline Filtration System - for Purified Water (Chrome)
  • REDUCES HARMFUL CONTAMINANTS IN TAP WATER: Removes 99% of substances commonly found in sink tap water like chlorine...
  • CONNECTS TO DOMESTIC FAUCET MODELS: APEX countertop filters have been designed to conveniently sit right on the...
  • COST-EFFECTIVE WATER FILTER: By using an APEX counter top alkaline water filter, you can stop wasting money on...

If you’re into countertop water filters, check out the APEX EXPRT. It houses extra filtration stages and even increases the alkalinity of your tap water for an even healthier take. Remember though that as the alkalinity increases, the total dissolved solids will increase as well.

This unit is easy to install as it only sits just beside your sink with a hose attached to the faucet. Overall, it can be an eyesore for some, but we all prefer different things, don’t we? However, we do think that it’s priced quite high for its performance.

Pros

Cons

  • Increases TDS
  • Unattractive hose
  • Less usable faucet
  • Expensive
  • Takes up significant counter space

Express Water Heavy Metal 3-Stage Carbon Water Filter

Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter – 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System – Sediment, KDF, Carbon Filters – Includes Pressure Gauges, Easy Release, and 1” Inch Connections
  • Whole House Water Filter: Reduce harmful impurities and dangerous heavy metals from your entire home’s water with...
  • Express Water’s water filtration systems are ready to install with 1” inch standard connections. Easy to...
  • Durable Whole House Water Filter: Express Water Whole Home Water Filtration Systems are constructed with standing...

Another whole house system is this one. It comes with a three-stage filtration system and uses a carbon block, KDF, and sediment filter to ensure that your water is free from chlorine, lead, pesticides, iron, VOCs, herbicides, chromium, chloramine, viruses, and insecticides. This product is easy to install and maintain as well.

Pros

  • Easy to maintain
  • Clear housing to identify when replacement is already needed
  • Whole house system

Cons

  • Expensive pipe size conversion if the unit does not match your current ones

Home Master Sediment & Carbon Water Filter

Sale
Home Master Whole House Three Stage Water Filtration System with Fine Sediment, Iron and Carbon, Blue
  • Great for well water; for city water, consider model #HMF2SmgCC
  • Massive filter housings with 1-inch ports for the strongest water pressure possible - up to 15-gallon per minute
  • Multi gradient density replaceable sediment filter produces finer filtration and greater dirt holding capacity;...

This filter from Home Master is another whole house water filter which has a lifespan of up to a year or about 95,000 gallons. It comes with a 2-year parts warranty for your peace of mind. However, installation is not as easy but it truly is worth it because this unit can remove up to 95% of the contaminants in your tap water. Take note as well that this is only usable for municipal water and not for well water.

Pros

  • High quality
  • Long lifespan
  • Whole house system

Cons

  • Challenging to install
  • For municipal water only

Invigorated Water pH RESTORE Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher

pH Restore Alkaline Water Pitcher - Long Lasting Water Filter Pitcher with Multi-Stage Filtration System - Water Jug for High pH, Pure Drinking Water - 3.5 L / 118 Oz - White
  • PITCHER FILTER FOR HIGH PH ALKALINE WATER - Made with premium quality BPA-free plastic, our PH Restore Alkaline...
  • CONVENIENT, MODERN DESIGN, EASY TO USE - Built in a modern anti-slip design, our restore filter jug is safe,...
  • HUGE FILTER CAPACITY AT A GREAT VALUE - Each pH Restore Alkaline water pitcher filter can filter up to 3.5 liters...

Just want carbon filter for your drinking water? Prefer drinking alkaline water? This filter pitcher will not disappoint. Besides, removing impurities from your water, this pitcher also makes your water more alkaline. Its beautiful appearance plus the ergonomic handle is another reason why you prefer having it in your house.

Pros

  • Comes with two water filters cartridges each that last up to 3 months.
  • Filter change reminder that notifies you when it is time to change for a new one.

Cons

  • Water spills. This pitcher has a flimsy lid, and the water will spill if you fill it to the brim.

Is it safe to use carbon water filters?

Carbon water filters are safe, especially if they have had material safety rated by a third party. CTO (chlorine, taste, and odor) removal is rated for all carbon filters, while sub-micron carbon blocks remove other contaminants such as lead or cysts. Activated carbon block filters with sub-micron ratings go above and beyond mechanical filtration to remove extra particles. Mechanical filters function similarly to a screen door in that they keep undesired elements out while allowing pure water to pass through. Cysts cannot pass through the pores of a carbon block filter that are fewer than one micron in size.

Is whole house water filter worth buying?

The entire house water filter will provide you with benefits as well as a handful of extras. The entire system eliminates chemicals at the point of entry. As a result, you will not be exposed to dangerous chlorine vapors when bathing. Please remove any sediments that could cause damage to your home’s plumbing.

The filtering system also eliminates iron, preventing rusting of your home appliances. Because all of these advantages are fantastic, it is well worth it.

Is carbon water filter worth buying?

Carbon is dependent on finely processed charcoal. The small carbon particles give a surface area with extraordinary absorption capabilities. As a result, please keep in mind that they operate as a chemical remover.

As a result, the carbon water filters are worthwhile. They eliminate pollutants, making it safe to drink.

What is charcoal filters?

The charcoal used in water filters is not the same as the charcoal used in barbecues. Water filters make use of activated charcoal, which is typically sold as loose beads or pressed into a solid block.

Charcoal activation is accomplished by superheating the charcoal at temperatures above 1000 degrees Fahrenheit without the presence of oxygen. The charcoal is then chemically treated with argon and nitrogen before being superheated again with the addition of oxygen and steam to create a porous structure. The porous structure of activated charcoal is the key factor that contributes to the effectiveness of charcoal water filters.

How does carbon filter work?

Adsorption is the process by which activated charcoal operates. Adsorption, as opposed to absorption, chemically rather than physically binds these impurities.

Adsorption binds particles to a surface in the same way that Velcro does. Because water and pollutants are both polar molecules that attract one another, organic compounds link or stick to the surface of a carbon filter.

The holes in activated charcoal enhance the surface area of the charcoal by up to 2000 square meters per gram, significantly improving its adsorption efficiency.

Carbon filters have a high surface area and are extremely porous, making them good at removing unpleasant tastes, smells, and other particles from water. As water runs through a carbon filter, it works as a parking lot, with pores for pollutants to park in. Microns are the size of the small pores. The finer the filtration, the smaller the micron. Because of the low flow rate and pressure, pollutants have more time to park or cling to the carbon. The longer time water spends in contact with the surface of a carbon filter, the more efficient the filtering.

Because the process results in the formation of bonds between compounds and the retention of impurities in the filter, charcoal filters must be replaced once all of the pores have been filled. Because cleaning and replacing charcoal filters is simple and inexpensive, charcoal filters are a popular choice for many households.

What is the purpose of a carbon water filter?

Most people are unaware that it is not just the water we drink that is important, but also the water we use to clean our clothes. Some water, depending on the source, may contain contaminants that vaporize when you shower and may be harmful to your health. Using a whole-house water filter will encourage healthy skin and hair while also assuring clean water for your family, plants, and pets.

The fact that activated charcoal is natural and effective in removing various toxins from water, such as volatile organic compounds and chlorine, without the use of chemicals or stripping the water of salts and minerals, makes it an excellent material for water filters. Carbon-based organic impurities in water, as you may recall from chemistry class, are attracted to the carbon in the charcoal, which readily bonds to these impurities. Other molecules, however, are not attracted to the carbon and thus pass past the filter, depending on their molecular weight and polarity.

Please keep in mind that a whole house water filter works throughout the house rather than installing a separate filtration system at each point of usage, which provides a lot of convenience for your household needs.

Furthermore, it eliminates compounds utilized by water treatment firms such as chloramines and chlorine. Contaminants such as lead, mercury, and other dissolved elements are removed, resulting in water softening.

Depending on the sources, such as wells that have not been treated by local companies, you will find it effective in disinfecting and filtering.

What are the benefits of charcoal filters?

1. It does not get rid of the “good stuff.”

Drinking water is composed of several minerals, as well as harmful compounds and contaminants, in addition to hydrogen and oxygen. While most water filters efficiently remove these contaminants, either mechanically or chemically, they frequently eliminate many of the essential minerals and ions that our bodies require.

Because of the chemical composition and structure of activated charcoal, these filters attract and absorb harmful organic components while leaving the remaining minerals in the water. Due to the fact that it does not eliminate all diseases or bacteria, charcoal is frequently used in conjunction with another filter.

2. It improves the quality of water.

Charcoal filters not only remove a lot of the bad stuff from water, but they can also add things back in to make it healthier. To improve the quality of your water, activated charcoal can add critical minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron.

3. It enhances the flavor.

Many individuals dislike the taste of tap water, claiming it is metallic or has an unpleasant odor. This flavor is frequently caused by additions like chlorine, which are added to tap water to remove germs and diseases found in reservoirs. Though this is a necessary practice to preserve public health, it frequently results in individuals avoiding drinking tap water, putting themselves at danger of dehydration, or purchasing plastic bottled water, which is harmful for the environment.

Charcoal filters not only adsorb these foul-tasting compounds, but they are also quite good at eliminating odors, making your drinking water considerably more pleasant to drink.

4. It is inexpensive.

Many water filtration systems are costly, yet important, investments for your home. Charcoal filters, on the other hand, are very cheap to manufacture, and the savings are passed on to the consumer.

5. They are simple to care for.

Although the filters must be replaced after the charcoal has been utilized, new parts are inexpensive and simple to get and install.

Every six months, your charcoal water filter should be updated. However, this is dependent on how much water you consume and the quality of the water in your location. If you’re not sure, check the quality of your water, see if the taste has changed, and see if the flow rate has dropped. If you observe any of these symptoms, it’s time to update your filter.

Is a carbon filter useful?

Carbon filters are extremely effective at removing chlorine and other disinfection byproducts such as trihalomethanes as well as unpleasant tastes and aromas. Some are rated to reduce other pollutants by mechanically filtering them. If your water includes large quantities of inorganic chemicals and dissolved particles, a reverse osmosis device should be used to treat it.

Pros

  • Effective decrease of taste, odor, and chlorine
  • a large surface area
  • Health risks are reduced.
  • Other filtering systems or softeners are protected.

Cons

  • Dissolved solids and other inorganic chemicals are not removed.
  • Filter adjustments must be made on a regular basis.

What is inside a carbon filter?

  • Wood-based media
  • Bituminous coal
  • Coconut shell

Coconut shell carbon is the most renewable of the three forms of filter media. Because this carbon is derived from the shell of a coconut rather than the meat inside, it does not trigger allergic reactions or taste water. Wood-based carbon is created from burned wood pulverized into granules and mimics the type of carbon utilized by the ancient Egyptians. Bituminous coal is being utilized less frequently now that arsenic traces have been identified in the media.

When and where should a carbon filter be used?

A carbon filter can be used in a variety of situations. It can be used at the point of entry (POE) to filter the entire house or at the point of use (POU) to clean water before drinking or cooking with it. Some shower heads use carbon filtration to keep you from inhaling chlorine gas while you’re in the shower. Carbon filters can also be found in a reverse osmosis (RO) or ultrafiltration (UF) system. A carbon filter applied to a UF system reduces organic and chemical particulates as well as lead.

If you use a water softener to soften municipally treated water, you should install a carbon filter before the water softener. The softener resin lasts longer if chlorine is eliminated prior to softening. Because chloramines can damage O-rings, gaskets, and rubber seals, eliminating chemical disinfectants using catalytic carbon helps water-using appliances, such as your tankless water heater, survive longer.

Buyer’s guide

Here are the important things to consider when buying a water filter:

Water type

It is critical to test it in your home to see what products are present before installing a filter system. It will allow you to select a filter that is appropriate for your needs. In order to remove chloramines, you may need to use an aggressive system at times. As a result, you should choose a filtration system that is good in reducing chloramine levels.

What can carbon filters remove?

  • Sediment (5-20 microns)
  • 97-99% chlorine
  • VOCs
  • Unpleasant taste
  • Odors
  • Pesticides and herbicides

What can’t carbon filters remove?

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Minerals
  • Fluoride
  • Total dissolved substances

Whole house or countertop?

Whole house water filters will filter basically all the tap water coming into your home while countertop water filters will only specifically filter water coming out of the faucet it’s connected to. Assess what your home needs to finalize this decision.

Removal percentage

Majority of the carbon block filters come with another form of filtration such as sediment filter or reverse osmosis to increase the level of filtration. This also depends on your water quality. If your tap water is fairly clean, you can opt for filters that can remove contaminants. On the other hand, if contaminated with heavy metals, chlorine, or pesticides, you may need a more advanced system.

Price point

There are hundreds of options in the market so all you need to do is set a budget and work around that. You should check reviews as some filters can be so cheap initially, but if they have short lifespans or durability issues, you might have to spend more in the long run.

Warranties and guarantees

Some filters come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and others may come with 1- to 10-year warranty. Make sure to learn more about this part before purchasing your filter.

Does it meet the NSF standards?

If you get an NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) approved filter, it will suffice for the purpose. You can also confirm that it bears the Water Quality Association (WAQ) seal. WAQ will always have a quality seal on its products, with all rights reserved. The certificates will signify that the filters have been confirmed to be of high quality after being subjected to rigorous testing by the most respected organizations in the United States.

Nonetheless, this does not imply that any filter lacking an NSF mark is of poor quality. All rights reserved, certification comes at a hefty cost that may be prohibitively expensive for small businesses.

Maintenance

More often than not, maintenance will require filter replacements. A lot of filters are easy to replace so you should look more into how frequently you have to replace them. Frequence of replacement depends largely on the brand and the model so make sure to check that.

FAQs

What type of charcoal is best for filtering water?

Activated charcoal is a far more effective filtering material and adsorbent than charcoal. In medicine, activated charcoal is more widely utilized than charcoal.

How long does a carbon water filter last?

Activated carbon water filters have a lifespan of 2 to 6 months after the first use. Some activated carbon filters, such as reverse osmosis or whole-house systems, are protected by additional filters and can last up to 12 months.

Which is better reverse osmosis or carbon filter?

Carbon filtration is particularly effective in removing chlorine taste and odor. It also excels in capturing big particles. Reverse osmosis, on the other hand, can remove nearly everything from your water, but it works best if the large particles are removed first to avoid premature membrane fouling.

Is plumbing knowledge required to install a carbon filter?

For countertop filters, not really, But for whole house systems, you’d need basic knowledge or hire a professional instead.

What happens if I don’t replace the cartridge?

Your water can slow down and the filtration will not be as effective. Not replacing your filter defeats the whole purpose of even having one installed.

How much contaminant can the filter remove?

Charcoal filter and the list here have two different answers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t remove all pathogens or microorganisms, so charcoal is often used in conjunction with another filter. … This taste is often due to the additives, such as chlorine, that are added to tap water to kill bacteria and pathogens found in reservoirs.

Not all filters are the same so you should check with the manufacturer site to determine this. 

Last words

Water filters are too low of a price to pay if it means you can have safe drinking water at your disposal. Besides, even if you’re short on budget, there are numerous affordable options in the market. Remember that health is wealth! 

If you click on the Amazon link or Add to Cart and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Update: 2022-01-01