Water filters are essential these days. The tap water that comes to our homes, whether municipal or from a well, have all kinds of contaminants and chemicals that are harmful. I used to think a water filtration jug was fine, it provides clean drinking water and the best ones do a lot to make the water a healthier option.
Then, along came the under sink water filtration system – what a brilliant idea! This meant you could have a dedicated faucet in your home and have clean, purified water on tap for drinking and cooking whenever you need it. But what about the rest of your home? It’s not just drinking water that needs to be pure. Hard water and chemicals is bad for our skin and eyes. When you brush your teeth, you’re taking in unfiltered water from the bathroom faucet. Even washing clothes and a dishwasher works better with filtered water.
Water Filtration Systems for Your Home
Enter the whole house water filtration system and we have applause. These filtration systems connect to the main plumbing of your home and supply clean, pure water to the entire home. There’s an obvious benefit to having filtered water throughout your house and then there are some real benefits that you may not have thought of. We never see the inside of our pipes and water heaters, so we take no notice of the minerals that collect inside them.
Anyone who’s bought an old “fixer-upper” home knows what a hassle it is to replace old plumbing fixtures and pipes. This is a really expensive exercise and leaves your home in a mess for days – even weeks. Most the damage to our plumbing is caused by impurities in the water and every home will, at some point need repairs done to the plumbing as a result of this damage. With a whole house water filtration system, it’s not just you and your family who are protected, it’s every part of your household plumbing that’s going to benefit.
With all this in mind, a whole house water filtration system starts to look more attractive. These are by no means cheap and require some installation. As this is a major and permanent investment in your home, you want do your homework before embarking on the project. So, what is the best whole house water filter system?
1. iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Filter
iSpring water filters are always surprisingly cheap. Despite costing less than most comparable filtration systems, they appear to be just good in terms of the quality of the materials used and their efficiency. The iSpring WGB32B can compare to the Home Master system (reviewed below), but costs less. There are several options of metal removal filters which push up the cost. But, even then, it’s still remarkable cheap and highly effective.
The base model 3-stage filter unit does a great job of removing sediments and the carbon block filter ensures that harmful stuff like chlorine as well as foul odors are removed from the water. For only a few dollars more, you can get additional filtration for the removal of iron, manganese, lead and other harmful metals. It’s nice to have the choice – you only need to pay for the filtration system that you really need.
The filter cartridges provide 100,000 gallons of pure water before they need replacing, which is as good as the best in this class of filter. It also uses 1-inch inlets, so water flow is fantastic – you can expect around 15 GPM.
The bottom line is that you’re getting a 3-stage water filter system for your whole house at lower cost than many of their competitors. I think that the iSpring WGB32B offers the best value for this type of water filter.
2. Express Whole House Water Filter for Heavy Metals
3. APEC 3-Stage Filter
APEC is a US brand that has earned the respect of many homeowners. This is a very similar 3-stage water purification system to the previous two in this review. Though some may prefer this one based purely on their knowledge of the brand. I can’t really say which of the three is the best.
The filter cartridges don’t have the same rated lifetime as the other two systems – the APEC filters are rated 70,000 gallons. Though this might still be an improvement because the sediment filters are washable, using a pleated design. So even though the carbon and high capacity iron filters may need replacement sooner, you should be able to get longer usage from the pleated sediment filter.
Other than this slight difference in the filter cartridges, I can’t see any major distinguishing factors between the APEC, iSpring and Home Master filters. There’s a price difference and the iSpring is the cheapest. Unless you feel a particular affinity toward one of these brands, I’d decide based on the price. So, it’s clear which one would be my first choice.
4. Fleck 5600SXT Whole House Water Softener
This is one of the more expensive whole house water filter systems that you can get – though it’s a long shot from being the most expensive. It is, in essence, excellent value for money if you’re in the market for a comprehensive, high-end filtration unit. At the time of writing this article, some stores were offering an incredible discount on the Fleck 5600SXT. If this is the case when you read this review, my only advice would be to act now. Even at its standard retail price, I still feel it offers exceptional value for money – so a substantial discount is a real bonus.
So what makes the Fleck 5600SXT such a good deal? In this price range, one is going to expect a lot and this system has just that. It has large 1.5 cubic feet polyglass tank and complete brine tank. This provides you with the ultimate system in terms of efficiency with a great water flow and minimal pressure drop. This means a continuous flow rate of 20 Gallons per Minute (GPM) with only a slight pressure drop (15 Psi). Even at the peak flow rate of 26 GPM, the pressure drop isn’t that noticeable at 25 Psi. This really means that you have pretty much the same water pressure and flow rate as you would have if you had no filtration stem at all. This can be a big deciding factor when comparing a system like this to the cheaper purification systems that use regular cartridge filters which means that the water has to flow through all the filters each time you use a faucet. The resistance of the filters causes a significant drop in both the pressure and flow rate that you get.
It has a premium valve with on demand supply that’s metered. This is a very intelligent system and you have several programmable options for backwash cycles. You can choose maximum efficiency or opt to save water with less frequent backwashing. It’s a 24V energy Star system which is both safe and very energy efficient. Everything is perfectly sealed and this means that you can install the unit outdoors, fantastic for homes with limited space.
The Fleck 5600SXT offers the full spectrum of filtration, water softening and neutralizing. You’re getting water that is perfect for every household application. It’s high-tech too, with an LCD screen and you get a USB instruction with videos, as well as a water test kit so you know exactly what the condition of your water is.
When one looks at the specs and the technical sophistication of this filter unit, it becomes clearly evident that you’re getting one of the best whole house water softener. Yet it’s expensive at all when compared to similar options. It’s a US made product with a great 10-year warranty on the tank and a 5-year warranty on the filtration system.
5. Air injection Silver AIS10-25SXT
The technology used here is cutting edge and this makes it a very low-maintenance and highly effective water filtration system. For such a sophisticated modern water filter, I consider the price to be very reasonable – you won’t be spending much over the long lifetime of the unit.
Air injection uses oxidation to remove harmful minerals in the best possible way. So the AI2525SXT top of the range Air Injection Platinum filter will remove up to 27 PPM iron, 17 PPM Hydrogen Sulfide, and 11 PPM Manganese from the water in your home. All this with lowest maintenance costs.
The system includes a high-quality tank, stainless steel bypass valve and an advanced controller with an LCD screen. You’re able to program the backwash cycles and monitor your filtration system. The Filox media in the tank is the best way to provide complete filtration and they stress that you don’t use imitations. You are supplied with the correct Filox media with your order, so this really comes into play when replacing the media – a long time from now.
Flow rate is good – 6 GPM service flow with a 9 GPM peak. One of the things that you don’t get, however, is water softener. For the most part, this isn’t issue because it is one of the most effective systems for removing iron and this basically softens the water. It’s always possible to add a separate water softener if you wish.
With many comparable whole house water filters costing over a thousand bucks, this system is actually really cheap for what you’re getting even though it only offers partial water softening. It uses high-quality materials and components and the warranty is excellent – 10-years on the tank and 5-years on the filter system. This is a great investment in your home.
6. Aquasana Filter With Salt Free Softner
There are quite a number of options for this unit. The most expensive is the ultimate whole house water filtration system which includes everything that you could possibly want including a UV kit for maximum antibacterial water cleaning. To my mind, the 10-year filter with water softener and pro kit is the best value, unless you feel a particular need to pay extra for the UV filter.
Although this looks to be expensive, you’re going to get a million gallons of perfectly pure water from the filters – that’s going to last 10-years or more. So by paying extra now, you’re going to save a lot over the years. Putting it into perspective, you’re paying a lot less than the initial price suggests. In addition to this, you’re getting a state-of-the art filtration system for your entire house.
It has two tanks – a filtration tank and the simply soft water softener tank. This softener doesn’t use salt, like so many others, and this prevents the buildup of scale in your pipes and fixtures. It also both post and pre-filters one before the filtration and softener tanks and one after. The two pre and post-filters are regular cartridge filters and need to be replaced as regularly as other similar systems – it’s only the main filtration tank and softener that will go for 1,000,000 gallons – these are the expensive items, replacement filter cartridges are cheap by comparison. The inclusion of the Pro-Grade installation kit means that you’ll also get high-quality fittings and stop valves to make the installation easier and last for a very long time.
Like any of the best water filtration systems, you’re guaranteed of perfectly pure mineral balanced water. Making it perfect for drinking, bathing and household cleaning. Your plants and pets will also benefit from the water quality. It doesn’t have the very impressive flow rate of the Fleck 5600SXT, which perhaps the only downside. If you have good pressure, like most suburban homes, the 7 GPM flow rate shouldn’t affect you in real way and it can handle a maximum pressure of 100 Psi.
For the full house, this system has it all – from perfect filtration to a water softener. If you do the math, it makes much better sense to buy the ten-year filter system. In the end, it works out to be much cheaper. In terms of quality, the Aquasana is certainly one of the best whole house water systems with a 10-year warranty.
7. Home Master HMF3SDGFEC 3 Stage Filter
This is a standard in-line 3-stage filtration system. Even though it has no tank or pump, the filters provide a very good flow rate, thanks to large 1-inch inlets that allow a lot more water to flow through the filters. The filter cartridges also huge which means that they last a long time and you don’t need to replace them two often.
Three filter housings are attached to sturdy steel frame. It’s simple and easy to install. The 3-stage filtrations system is excellent at removing all the chemicals with up to 95% efficacy and does a reasonable job of removing harmful minerals. While not quite as good as the more sophisticated mineral removal filters, it does a fair job – about 3 PPM on average.
The flow rate is one of the best for this type of filter cartridge, up to 15 GPM. The filters are of the best quality and the cartridges only need to be replaced after 100,000 gallons – roughly once a year.
It’s a high-quality filter system with minimal installation required and has a 2-year warranty.
8. 3M Aqua-Pure – Model AP903
This is cheapest water system for the whole house in this review. It’s also the most basic. The quality is fantastic, 3M is brand I’ve known all my life and they good stuff. It’s also very compact with a single cartridge doing all the work. While it performs very well at providing clear, great tasting water in your home, it doesn’t offer as much filtration as all the others and won’t remove metals like lead.
The 3M AP903 has a very competent filter that will last for 100,000 gallons and has a fantastic 20 GPM flow rate. This flow rate is basically due to the fact that it doesn’t have multi stages to restrict the flow. On the other hand, this means that it won’t remove as many different elements from the water. It does a fine job at removing rust, sediment and bad tastes (like chlorine) from the water. Though this is where it ends.
Basically, this is an economy version of the best water filter system for the whole house. It’s manufactured to high standard and provides basic filtration. If all you really want is rust-free and great tasting water in your home, there’s no need to buy any of the more expensive units. You’ll get many years of use out of this system and you’ll get the results that you’re after.