Under-Sink Water Filters: Are They a Good Investment?
If you’re looking for a reliable water treatment system that filters all the water coming through your faucet, then an under-sink water filter may be a good investment. As their name suggests, under-sink water filters (a.k.a., under-counter filters) can fit under your kitchen sink – entirely out of sight. Not only are they unobtrusive, but they are also budget-friendly and efficient. They can even solve the constant refilling issue associated with pitcher filters. Thank goodness!
Further, under-counter water filters require low maintenance. Once installed, you won’t have to change the filters for months. That means you can banish all those pitcher filters from your life forever, and enjoy the healthy perks of crystal-clear, great-tasting filtered water without the frequent refilling problems.
But considering all those excellent benefits, you might start to wonder if under-sink water filters are a good investment compared to some of the other types of water filtering solutions on the market, such as whole-house filtering systems, reverse osmosis water filters, and others.
To satisfy your curiosity, we’ll be discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly about under-counter water filters. Hopefully, you’ll learn everything you need to make an informed buying decision when the time comes. Let’s go!
What is an under-sink water filter?
An under-sink water filter is a Point-of-Use (POU) device that works to remove many different kinds of contaminants from drinking water. POU means that the system is installed where you need access to clean water, such as at your kitchen or bathroom faucet, or anywhere you have an appliance that requires clean, filtered water. Also, under-sink water filters are in-line filters that connect directly to your waterline. The water passes through the filter before coming through your tap or other outlets. However, some under-sink filters dispense water through their own specially-installed faucet.
How do under-sink water filters work?
The water delivery process of a conventional under-sink filter is pretty simple and straightforward. The filter gets its water via a flexible plastic tube that’s connected directly to your cold-water line under the sink. Essentially, the tube diverts some of the water to the filter.
The water then leaves the filter through a separate flexible plastic tube and is delivered to you through the filter’s own dedicated faucet, mounted on top of the sink. That means there’s no mixing with unfiltered water.
Because of the constant pressure on the system, the water flows from the filter and out the tap when you turn on the dedicated faucet. Only drinking water delivered via the special faucet is filtered. The sink’s regular cold and hot water functions remain independent.
In contrast, simple under-sink filters have a slightly different water delivery system. In this arrangement, all of the water is diverted through the filter, and the filtered water is dispensed only through the regular cold-water sink faucet.
- They’re convenient and efficient: Under-sink water filters provide instant, permanent access to filtered water from a single water source. So, you won’t have to purchase a more expensive solution or refill a pitcher anymore. Besides that, under-sink filters are highly recommended these days because they don’t produce any wastewater.
- They deliver targeted filtration: If you don’t want to waste money filtering water for your bathroom, laundry, and toilet with a whole-house filter, under-sink filters allow you to treat water at specific points in your home. After all, most families are mostly concerned with making sure that their drinking water is safe.
- They save counter space: If you need the valuable storage space on top of your sink or counter, installing an under-sink filter will be a good choice, especially if you live in a small apartment and need all the countertop space possible.
- Better capacity and speed: The best under-sink water filters on the market clean around 1,000 gallons of water. This means that some under-sink filters can last for a year before they need to be replaced. Moreover, because under-sink filter use water pressure to force water through the filter, their filters can be denser, so they can remove a broader range of potential contaminants.
- No need to replace cartridges very often: When it comes to maintenance, under-sink water filters are a step-up from pitcher filters. Under-sink filters offer at least six months of filter-replacement-free operation, while filter replacement is required every two months or so for pitcher filters.
- They can be a bit pricey when compared to pitcher filters: Even with their less frequent filter replacement requirement, under-sink water filters are pricier than pitcher filters.
- Low flow rate: The smaller faucet that comes with most under-sink filters dispense water at a slower rate than a regular kitchen faucet. Some dedicated taps will take about 15 to 20 seconds to fill up a 16-ounce glass.
- They don’t chill your water: The water that comes from an under-sink filter will not be as chilled as the water you get from a refrigerator pitcher or dispenser. For some people, quickly adding a few ice cubes is still a lot of work.
- Less space under your sink, if that matters: If the area under your kitchen sink is minimal and you need all the space you can get, then installing an under-sink water filter may be a bad idea.
- The installation will most likely require a plumber: If you want a quick and easy DIY installation, you might be better off hiring a certified plumber in your area. Unless you have some prior plumbing experience, you may need to get an expert to install the filter for you. However, replacing the filter is very easy. In most cases, the replacement process is as easy as twisting off the old filter and twisting on the new one.
What’s the difference between under-sink water filters and the other common types of water filters on the market?
Under-sink Water Filters vs. Water Pitcher Filters
Pitcher filters can provide some remarkable benefits, from better-tasting water to the convenience of fresh, cold filtered water from the refrigerator. They are perfect for homes that already have high-quality water because pitchers cannot handle water problems beyond slight taste or quality issues.
However, a pitcher filter might not be the most efficient or economical solution if your household consumes significant qualities of water regularly. In this case, you might want to consider an under-sink system that will provide instant access to fresher-tasting drinking water right from your tap, or near your tap.
Even though under-counter filters don’t produce chilled water, they provide cleaner, better-tasting water for your entire household than water pitcher filters. Moreover, the ease-of-use and quality filtration offered by under-sink water filters make them a better choice for many homeowners.
Under-sink Water Filters vs. Countertop Water Filters
Under-sink water filters and countertop water filters are the two most commonly used water filters in residential settings. But when it comes to efficiency and usability, under-sink filters seem to be the better choice for many homeowners – and we can understand why.
Unlike under-sink filters that fit under the sink, countertop filters sit on your kitchen counter. Countertop filters are ideal for small apartment owners, those who live in rentals, college students, or anyone who wants a no-fuss water filter. This is because countertop filters require no plumbing or dedicated faucets, and are highly portable, affordable, easy to maintain, and mostly use activated carbon and ceramic filter media. But unlike under-sink filters, countertop water filters offer fewer filtration system choices, lower contaminant removal, fewer filtration stages, and takes up space on the kitchen counter.
Under-sink filters, on the other hand, offer multiple types of filter media combined within a single system (for example, reverse osmosis filtration and activated carbon). They also provide many filter cartridges with different micron ratings, higher filtered water output, and better contaminant removal capacity, just to name a few.
Thanks to their complexity, under-sink water filters can deliver more in-depth filtration so that they would be the preferred choice over countertop filters.
Under-sink Water Filters vs. Whole-House Water Filters
Whole-house water filters are the more prominent players in the water filtration game. But despite that, they do come at a much higher price than under-sink water filters. A whole-house filtering system treats all the water that enters your home at the point of entry (POE) or the main water line, providing clean drinking water to your entire home. In contrast, an under-sink filter treats water at the point of use and offers instant access to clean water wherever you need it.
If you have a whole-house filtration system, you may or may not need an under-sink filter. Typically, a whole-house filtering system complements an under-sink system because you may not want to filter the water that you use for household activities like cleaning or doing the laundry to the same quality as the water you drink.
There are several types of whole-house filters, so the exact solution you need depends on your water source and the kind of water treatment you need. For example, if your water comes from a private well, you might need a whole-house filtering system for well water. Other whole-house filtering systems come with a water softener that removes hardness minerals from water to make the water soft, and those that come with UV purification technology to remove bacteria and other pathogens from water.
The bottom line is that under-sink water filters and whole-house systems both serve the same purpose and will prove useful, depending on your specific situation and filtration needs.
So, should I invest in an under-sink water filter?
Our best response that that question is: “It all depends.” Before purchasing an under-sink water filter, you must first check the quality of your drinking water to see if it is contaminated. The quickest way to test your water is to use a home water test kit. You can also contact your local water providers and request a water quality report for your area, or you can send a water sample from your home to a local laboratory for more accurate testing.
Next, decide whether you want to treat all the water entering your home, or just the water at your kitchen or bathroom faucet, or any other specific area in your household. In the first case, you’ll probably need a whole-house filtration system. In the latter case, the answer to the question above is an astounding “yes!” But before you dash through the door or start browsing online to make the purchase, you should consider the following factors to find the best unit for your needs:
- The lifespan of the filters: When deciding to purchase an under-sink water filter, think of the lifespan of the filters. Some filters last as little as three months, whereas others can last six to 12 months.
- The size of the system: Compact under-sink water filters generally fit comfortably in most spaces, but sizeable multi-stage filtration systems have difficulty fitting in tight spaces. Therefore, you should measure the installation area for clearance, as well as to determine how awkward it will be to maneuver around it for filter changes.
- Filtration capacity: Filtration capacity refers to the number of contaminants the system can remove from your drinking water. So, read the product description for each unit carefully to see if it removes the specific pollutants that appeared in your water test, as well as other contaminants that can be toxic to your health.
- Whether or not the system has a dedicated faucet: Some under-sink water filters only work with dedicated taps. These units will require extra installation steps, though some experts agree that direct faucets deliver the cleanest water possible.
- The water pressure the system produces: Under-sink water filters usually don’t produce high water pressure. That means it takes longer to fill a glass. It also means that the filtration stages are working well. As the saying goes: All good things are worth the wait.
- Warranty: Most home appliances come with different manufacturer warranties. This is no different when it comes to under-sink water filters. In general, the more extended the warranty, the better the quality. Should you purchase an under-sink filter (or any other home appliance for that matter), make sure to save all your paperwork and proof of purchase in a safe place so you can take advantage of it.
- Your budget: You can find modest under-sink water filters for less than $100. These systems usually last for six months to three years, though. Mid-range units cost closer to $150 and filter out far more contaminants. For superior filtration, invest in a multi-stage process unit for up to $250.
Okay, I’m sold. What’s your recommended under-sink water filter system?
Springwell offers two under-sink filters: the Brushed Nickel Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System (SWRO-Nickel) and the Oil-Rubbed Bronze (SWRO-Bronze) variant. Both systems are compact POU filters that fit neatly under your kitchen sink and provide 75 gallons of filtered water per day. They’re both perfect solutions for filtering out contaminants from your water, such as lead, mercury, fluoride, arsenic, aluminum, iron, chlorine, chloramine, herbicides, pesticides, chlorine byproducts, and more. Better yet, both systems use reverse osmosis filtration technology, so you know you’ll be getting the highest quality filtered water possible.
In terms of filtration, the SWRO-Nickel and the SWRO-Bronze filter water in four stages:
- Stage 1 (Sediment Filtration): In phase one, the system removes all the sediment and larger contaminants in your water.
- Stage 2 (Carbon Filtration): Next, the carbon filter removes chlorine, chloramine, herbicides, pesticides, and other harmful contaminants from the water.
- Stage 3 (Reverse Osmosis): In the reverse osmosis phase, the system filters out heavy metals, such as mercury, arsenic, iron, lead, fluoride, aluminum, and more, from the water.
- Stage 4 (Carbon Filtration): Finally, the carbon filter finalizes the treatment phase by removing additional contaminants that made their way through the previous three steps.
On top of that, we offer a lifetime warranty against defects on all covered parts and a six-month money-back guarantee. The systems are also straightforward to install and even easier to maintain with our quarter-turn replacement filters that you can change without shutting the water off. However, we recommend replacing the sediment filter and the carbon filters every six months, and the reverse osmosis membrane every 24 months.
Here’s the icing on the cake: If you cannot afford to purchase any of the filters in full, we will allow you to finance it with reasonable monthly payments over three, six, or 12 months. All we need is a few pieces of information to make a real-time decision. Plus, there are no hidden fees. We’ll tell you upfront exactly how much you owe. Before you know it, your brand-new system will be delivered directly from our factory in South Daytona, Florida, right to your doorstep with FedEx’s reliable and super-speedy delivery service.
Installing an under-sink water filter will be a life-changing investment – in a good way, of course. These systems will simplify your domestic life and bring an end to your never-ending struggle of refilling water pitchers or buying overpriced bottled water. So, add the SWRO-Nickel or the SWRO-Bronze to your shortlist of home essentials, today.