What are the 3 Best faucet mounted water filters to remove lead, microbes and bad taste?

by Bill Duffy - Read report

Culligan FM-15A
Waterpik F8 Instapure
Pur 3-Stage Vertical Water Filter
The 3 Best faucet mounted filters to reduce lead, microbes and bad taste are Culligan FM-15A, Waterpik F8 Instapure, and the Pur 3-Stage Vertical Water Filter.
  • Background
  • Process
  • Comparison
  • Rate this Report
There are several different types of water filters available depending on what type of water contamination problems you have and how you'd like to filter your water. Generally, there are two different types of filters – carbon filters and reverse osmosis filters – each are effective against different types of contaminants. Different filter methods (that either employ carbon or reverse osmosis technology) include pitchers, tabletop distillers, faucet mounted filters, under-the-sink filters, and in-line filtering systems that connect directly to household plumbing. Each have their benefits and costs, but given research on a number of different expert and review sites, it appears that faucet mounted filtering systems are one of the smartest options, given that they do not require professional installation, yet are much more effective in filtering out contaminants than pitcher or tabletop filters.

This report will be focused around the following issue: What are the three best faucet mounted water filters to remove lead, microbes and bad taste?
I started by researching what kinds of water filters are available on the market. After discovering the differences between carbon and reverse osmosis filters, I narrowed my search to explore different types of filters and came to the conclusion that faucet mounted filters would be best to focus on, given the effectiveness of the units as compared to price and usability. I then culled expert sites, online marketplaces and user forums to gather names of celebrated faucet mounted systems, and after finding the three filters that kept appearing in multiple 'best of' lists, I spent some time researching each of the 3 Best filters for more information.
 Culligan FM-15AWaterpik F8 InstapurePur 3-Stage Vertical Water Filter
CredibilityYesYesYes (special three step filtering system that also uses sediment and natural minerals)
UsabilityEasy to install and to replace cartridges; lasts 200 gallons (3-4 months use)Easy to install and to replace cartridges; auto-switch reverts to unfiltered water to save life of filter; indicator light to denote when cartridge needs replacing; lasts 100 gallons (2-3 months use)Easy to install and to replace cartridges; button switch to go back and forth between filtered and unfiltered water; indicator light to denote when cartridge needs replacing; lasts 100 gallons (2-3 months use)
Pricing$20 for unit, $15 for replacement cartridge$30 for unit, $20 for replacement cartridge$30 for unit and extra replacement cartridge
Does Product Get Results?Widely recommended on a number of expert and user feedback sites; lasts longest of the threeWidely recommended (but not as much as the Culligan)Widely recommended (but with some mixed reviews about 'carbon taste' or cracks/leaks)
community rating: 4.6 (8 ratings)
In deciding what are the 3 Best faucet mounted filters, I used these key considerations to focus my research:
  1. Trustworthiness – Does the product contain a proven filtering method such as a carbon filter or reverse osmosis?
  2. Usability – How manageable is the product? Is it easy to install? How long does the filter last before a replacement filter is needed?
  3. Pricing – Does the overall product deliver effective water filtering at an affordable price?
  4. Performance - Does the Product Get the Desired Results?
While there were some other tangible factors in the selection process, and included in the discussion below, these four attributes illustrate the most important factors in the decision making process.

Culligan FM-15A Faucet Filter

Consistently ranked highly among expert sites and on user forums, the NSF-certified Culligan FM-15A Faucet Filter is the best filtering system of the three. The filter is a carbon block cartridge, and reduces 99.95% of microbes (such as cryptosporidium and giardia cysts), 98.9% of lead, and reduces chlorine taste and odor. The Culligan FM-15A filter is easily attached to the faucet, requiring no tools, and there is the option of accessing unfiltered tap water through its valve stem. The filter lasts up to 200 gallons or for approximately three-four months use. Users commented that the Culligan FM-15A filter had a steadier, heavier flow than its counterparts, and the product's complimentary 5-year warranty ensures that in the event of any malfunction parts will be replaced for free. The unit is priced at approximately $20, and replacement cartridges are $15/each. Given a wide number of positive reviews, and the 5-year warranty attached to the product, the Culligan FM-15A Faucet Filter reliably delivers clean water at an affordable price.

Waterpik F8 Instapure Filter

For the second best faucet mounted filter, I chose the Waterpik F8 Instapure Filter, also a frequently appearing product on various review and feedback sites. Using a carbon filter cartridge, the Waterpik F8 meets NSF standards for the reduction of more than 30 contaminants including lead and cysts, and meets NSF Standard 42 for the reduction of chlorine taste and odor. This filter is easily installed and like the Culligan FM-15A requires no tools for installation. Specific perks to this unit include the auto-switch that extends the filter's life by automatically switching back to unfiltered water after each use, and a convenient filter change indicator light that tells you when the cartridge needs replacing. The reasons why the Waterpik F8 did not take first place are because it is more expensive on average than the Culligan ($30/unit, $20/replacement cartridge) and only lasts up to 100 gallons or for about 2 months of use.

Pur 3-Stage Vertical Water Filter

With several unique perks, including a special 3-step filtering system, the Pur 3-Stage Vertical Water Filter makes the 3 Best, though it is not as highly rated across the board as the Culligan or Waterpik filters. One of the main selling points of this filter is its 3 stage filter technology that uses a sediment wrap, carbon filter and natural minerals to remove 99.99% of microbial cysts, 99% of lead, and 97% of chlorine taste and odor. Also, it is NSF certified to reduce over 60 other contaminants. The Pur filter is easily installed, requiring no tools, and the filter swivels 360 degrees to give you better access to your sink. A simple switch turns the filter on and off, allowing you to access unfiltered water from your tap, and an electronic indicator flashes green, yellow or red, indicating when it's time to replace the filter cartridge.  Like the Waterpik the Pur 3-Stage Vertical filter lasts up to 100 gallons  or about 2 months of use before needing cartridge replacement, but another perk of this model is that it comes with a replacement cartridge (it's approximately $30 for the unit plus an additional replacement cartridge). The Pur 3-Stage Filter is an excellent option for its thorough filtering, but because there have been some mixed reviews about the product (some issues with the water 'tasting like carbon', some cracking/leaking issues), it remains in third place.

All three of these filters are great options for removing lead, cysts, bad taste and odor from your drinking water. With uniformly easy installation and comparable prices, they all rank higher than the other faucet mounted systems out there. But because of its solid build, uniformly positive reviews, longest lasting filter cartridge and affordable price, the Culligan FM-15A is my top choice of the three faucet mounted filtering systems. The Waterpik F8 Instapure Filter comes in second for its unique auto-switch and filter replacement indicator light. Finally, the Pur 3-Stage Vertical Water Filter is also a great option, with its unique three step filter and complimentary filter cartridge replacement that comes with the unit.