The Best Under Sink Water Filters for Safer, Great-Tasting Tap Water

published Dec 27, 2023
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Hands of woman filling water bottle in kitchen sink
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Water quality is a niche yet always interesting topic of conversation. No matter which state (or country, for that matter) you travel to, the locals are going to have strong opinions. The water that flows out of your kitchen sink might taste fine, but it could still contain bacteria, heavy metals, and other unwanted contaminants. Or, maybe tap water actually doesn’t taste good to you, which is all the more reason not to consume it. In any case, there are simple solutions around the problem. When you travel, you might opt to buy bottles of filtered water, but thankfully, there’s a much easier and less costly solution infor your regular day-to-day: You can equip your home with a filter. Below, you’ll find five of our top under-sink filter recommendations, as well as some info on what makes each one so great. After all, staying hydrated shouldn’t be complicated!

What Are the Benefits of an Under-Sink Water Filter?

When you hear “filter,” you probably think of a pitcher filter, like a Brita or a Pur. Those certainly have their advantages, but you should also keep in mind that pitchers have to be refilled on a daily basis, and they can take up excess room in your fridge or on your countertop. On a more serious note, many pitchers aren’t designed to remove significant contaminants, so although they might make your water look and taste cleaner, the effect doesn’t always go beyond that. For more comprehensive filtration, you’ll want to invest in an under-sink filter. The right one will remove all those unwanted particles far more effectively, and it stays out of your way as you work in the kitchen. Plus, your water will still taste great — like bottled water, but much fresher!

Things to Consider Before Buying an Under-Sink Water Filter

The biggest downside of an under-sink water filter is that you have to research which one is best for your specific kitchen. Not every model is compatible with every faucet, and if your home naturally has low water pressure, you’ll want to be extra conscious of this when selecting your filter type. Specifically, there are four main types (more on this below). The filter you choose also needs to fit in your under-sink cabinet, so some measuring is in order. A smaller, low-capacity filter could free up more space, but it won’t release as much water as quickly as a high-capacity filter would. Plus, the bigger the filter, often the more expensive it is, so that’s something to keep in mind, as well. Size and price also factor into how frequently you’ll need to maintain or replace your filter.

Types of Under-Sink Water Filters

  • Carbon Block: One of the more basic types of filtration, carbon block filters attract contaminants only to then remove them from the water. As a result, they improve your water’s taste, but don’t always remove tougher bacteria or viruses. You might opt for this type if you’re confident in your state’s water filtration system and just want to improve the general look and taste of your tap water.
  • Reverse Osmosis: This method is one of the more foolproof options. Reverse osmosis uses external pressure to rid your water of contaminants, and it can target a wider variety of unwanted particles and substances, including bacteria, pesticides, heavy metals, and chlorine.
  • Multi-Stage: As its name suggests, a multi-stage filter doesn’t merely eliminate impurities in one go like the other filter types. Instead, you’ll find this kind of filter to have multiple cartridges, each of which targets a different kind of pollutant in subsequent stages.
  • Ultrafiltration: Although ultrafiltration systems typically aren’t quite as effective as removing impurities as reverse osmosis, they do retain minerals that can affect the taste of your water. In other words, whereas RO can eliminate both healthy and unhealthy substances in the water, ultrafiltration leaves certain healthy minerals behind.

Filter Life Span

Depending on the type of filter you choose, you’ll need to change it anywhere from every six months to every four years. Reverse osmosis filters typically last the longest, having to be replaced every two to four years. You must also consider how many people live in your household and how frequently you all use the sink in question. A sink used by five people will need to have its filter replaced more frequently than one used by two, for example. Some filters have a set replacement time outlined in their instructions, while others might have a built-in indicator telling you when it’s time to get a new filter.


Another factor you’ll want to consider before buying an under-sink filter is whether you need it to be renter-friendly. When it comes to installation, many filters require you to drill an extra faucet hole into your sink. You might also have to drill the body of the filter into the side of the cabinet and drill a hole into your sink’s drain pipe. Make sure to read the installation instructions before purchasing, and, when in doubt, remember that you can always enlist the help of a professional! If you’re worried about risking your security deposit, an under-sink filter might not be right for you.

1 / 5

This Amazon bestseller will rid your water of over 1,000 impurities, including lead and arsenic. Because it's so powerful, it will also remove some benign (and potentially beneficial) minerals, like fluoride, so that's something to keep in mind. The filter also comes with parts that ensure a leak-free installation, including O-rings and fittings with stainless-steel teeth. "We installed this APEC many years ago; we change the filter every six months, and the filter still does its job," one reviewer wrote. "Water hardness continues to be low when measured. Flavor of the water is pleasant, not as good as some, but consider this system does not ad any minerals to the water like some do... Best part is the filter replacements are not super expensive as some others on the market."

2 / 5

A multi-stage filter, this under-$150 find comes with a sediment filter, pre-carbon filter, and carbon block filter, not to mention a sleek chrome faucet! It also boasts a built-in LED indicator that lets you know when it's time for a filter change, but typically, the 600-gallon capacity filter is designed to last one year. "We moved into a newly refurbished place," one satisfied Amazon customer wrote. "I purchased this water filtration system (and spare cartridges) to go in the kitchen. Clean water is especially important in making good coffee, so I use this to fill my drip coffee reservoir and my espresso machine reservoir, as well as for daily drinking water. No problems with the install or with use. The status light on the handle is a good addition. No longer have to guess when the filters need to be changed."

3 / 5

This budget-friendly filter attaches to your cold water supply to eradicate small particles, including harmful PFAS, as well as larger contaminants like sand, lead, rust, and heavy metals. As a result, you get clean and tasty water for drinking, cooking, brewing tea, and more. Plus, installation should take no longer than a few minutes! "This filter took about 6 minutes to install," one reviewer noted. " I haven't attached it to the cabinet wall and am not sure I will. It stands upright just fine on its own, the hoses are plenty long, and I have room for it on the cabinet floor... The water tastes clean straight from the tap. No aftertaste. So happy to not have to constantly refill a water pitcher."

4 / 5

What's so cool about this particular water filter is that it uses a reverse osmosis system to eliminate all those bad pollutants, but it then re-mineralizes your water through a second filter and balances its alkalinity. After all, you don't want your H2O to be too acidic! The final result? Purified water that's clean enough to be bottled and sold. "I've had this product for two years now, and it is still working perfectly," one shopper wrote. "Initial setup takes a little while, but replacing the filters on the maintenance intervals is pretty easy. iSpring customer service is also fantastic."

5 / 5

Culligan is a leading brand name in water filtration, and it's not hard to see why. Amazon reviewers contend that this easy-install, twist-on filter system produces great-tasting water and takes up minimal space in their under-sink cabinets. Plus, the filter has been independently tested and proven to remove lead, mercury, chlorine taste and odor, and other undesirable chemicals. "For years, we were using a Brita pitcher in the fridge, and honestly, it got annoying having to constantly replace the water," one shopper wrote. "I was looking for something that was easier to use once we went through our last filter, and I came across the Culligan US-EZ-1. It was very inexpensive and promised a year of clean water with just one filter... We have had no problems with it thus far. I especially love that I can wash dishes with hot water running, and my wife can fill up her water bottle at the same time with cool, filtered water."