Water filters have become all the rage in recent years and that’s not without reason. The differences between tap water and bottled water have been well documented and we ourselves have talked about them at length too. In most situations – i.e. when tap water isn’t affected by a recent environmental problem or when the municipalities that regulate it are doing their job right – tap water is not only up to 1000 times cheaper than bottled water, but it is also actually healthier. Bottled water is mainly useful when good tap water is not available.
Tap water is far from perfect too, however. Even in its best state, tap water still includes things like fluoride, chlorine and other chemicals that are used to keep it clean from dangerous contaminants. And while these chemicals are regulated to be harmless, they still scare people, as well as sometimes give the tap water an unpleasant odor or taste.
Hence, why water filters have risen to popularity. But even if you’ve navigated through the tap water vs bottled water debate, there are still multiple different types of water filters to research and consider: whole house filters, under sink filters, countertop filters, faucet filters, and others. Each type has its benefits and negatives, and each is suitable for a different home.
To help you out a bit more in your choice, here we’ll cover some of the benefits and specifics of countertop filters and we’ll go over the other types of filters in other articles. It would also be a great idea for you to check out our guide to finding the best countertop water filter.
Countertop Water Filters: What Are They And How Do They Work?
Countertop filters are fairly simple devices in principle. They consist of a diverter tube that is attached to the sink faucet and diverts the incoming water away from the faucet and into the filter. The filter itself is located on top of the counter, next to the sink. It has one or more replaceable filter cartridges. The incoming water goes into the filter, gets filtered through the cartridges, and comes out through the filter’s own faucet and back into the sink. And that’s about it.
Of course, there are some variations in the designs of different countertop filters – some (usually older) models don’t have replaceable filter cartridges, others have a return valve that returns the filtered water into the diverter valve and from there back into the original sink faucet. Some are even large counter mounted systems such as the Big Berkey water filter, which does an incredible job of filtering large quantities of water. These variations don’t change the basic nature of a countertop filter, however.
So, let’s take a deeper look now and review all of the benefits of a countertop filter both in general, and in comparison to other filters:
- The water tastes better. As with most water filters, one of their key features is to filter the unpleasant odors and tastes out of tap water. Such unwanted odors and tastes can come from harmless sources like fluoride and chlorine or can be a sign of some other problems in your tap water. Regardless, an unpleasant odor or taste can turn a lot of people away from tap water and either force them to use bottled water or – even worse – to drink less water per day than their body requires.
- The water is safer to drink. As we said, unpleasant odors and tastes can sometimes be a sign that your water isn’t even particularly safe to drink. Not to mention that a lot of harmful contaminants don’t even leave a taste in the water. Countertop filters, like other water filters, make sure that your water is as clean and as safe to drink as possible. Regardless of the situation with the tap water in your municipality, a countertop filter will always provide you with safe water to drink.
- It saves money. A lot of people hesitate from buying water filters because they don’t want to spend the money. When the alternative is buying bottled water, however, a nice countertop filter can save you almost incalculable sums of money in the long run.
- It is healthier in every way. With a countertop filter your water won’t just be safer – it will be healthier. A lot of great filters don’t just filter the water, they also enrich water with important minerals that it often lacks.
- It boosts the water’s properties. Water is – pardon the cliché – life’s true nectar. And whole some other “nectars” might be more delicious, it’s water that keeps us up and running and the better the water we drink is, the better our health is.
- It supports children’s physical development. Having a healthy and rich water supply of water at home is one of the key factors to having your kids grow healthy and strong. Drinking non-filtered or outright unhealthy water as a kid is one of the surest ways to grow up with health problems.
- Easier to install than a lot of other types of water filters. There are other great types of water filters like whole house filters or under sink filters. They do bring their benefits to the table, but one major negative they have is that they are often too much of a hassle to install. Countertop filters, on the other hand, are installed in a matter of minutes and require no plumbing knowledge or experience.
- Requires minimal maintenance and filter changes. Countertop filters are not only easy to install, they are also easy to maintain. You don’t need to crawl to your pipes to fix a problem with a countertop filter and you don’t need to uninstall half of your plumbing to change its filter cartridge.
- No extra tap required. Some types of water filters - under sink filters, mainly – require the installation of an additional filter tap next to your existing tap. This means an additional hole in your kitchen sink and may cause problems and damage to your sink. With a countertop filter this is not an issue.
As you can see, countertop water filters have quite a few things going their way. Easy to install and use, effective at their job, cheap and efficient – there are virtually no homes and families that a countertop filter won’t be a good fit for. Don’t think that they are perfect in every way, however. Countertop filters aren’t the be all end all of water filtration and they do have their disadvantages compared to other filtration methods:
- Single point filtration. This means that a countertop filter works only with the single sink it is attached to. Any other sink in your home still won’t provide you with a high quality source of water, including the bathroom shower. A whole house filter, on the other hand, can provide you with clean and healthy water everywhere in your home. So, if you are worried not just about drinking fluoride and chlorine, but also about breathing it in through shower fumes (which actually results in more fluoride and chlorine entering your system), a whole house water filter might be more suitable for you.
- Aesthetic considerations. The practical side of things may be where countertop filters shine, but let’s not forget about the aesthetics. After all, you don’t need to be vain to want your kitchen to look good – not just to show off to your guests but for your own comfort as well. And sadly, countertop filters are not the most beautiful kitchen fitting in the world. Sure, they come in different designs from different brands and some look less ridiculous than others, but they are still an extra element that is just sitting next to your kitchen sink. An under sink water filter or a whole house water filter, on the other hand, affects the aesthetics of your home in much less significant ways.
- Efficiency. Countertop water filters may be more efficient than a filtration pitcher – and they are certainly more effective than buying bottled water – but they are not as effective as some of the more heavy duty solutions like whole house water filters or under sink water filters. Countertop filters are simply smaller than those options and usually won’t remove every possible type of contaminant.
- However, there are countertop filters that get around this by being more advanced and having more than one type of filtration method in them and are therefore better able to remove all types of contaminants. So, if you want a countertop filter but you really want something that removes everything – choose wisely.
So, countertop filters may not be the perfect solution to every human problem, but they are a pretty great solution to bad tasting or unhealthy tap water. Cheap, easy to use and effective, a countertop water filter is a great addition to almost any home.