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Whole house water filters are a great investment for most homeowners. Unlike a countertop or under sink water filter, a whole home filter supplies every tap with purified water, so that your showers are just as fresh and clean as the water from your kitchen sink.
Because of what a large job they’re built to do, they’re considerably more expensive than smaller and less complex systems. That said, a quality system will last for years with proper maintenance, and most customers find them well worth the initial investment. Not sure what you need? Read on to find out if a whole house water filtration system is the best fit for you and your budget.
Water Filter Prices Vary Widely by Type
The convenience of a whole house water filter is unmatched, but we’re not here to sell you on something you may not need. There are several types of water filters to choose from, and what fits one home may be overkill for another. A person living alone who rarely cooks may be perfectly content with a water filtration pitcher, for example. If your goal is to protect your plumbing, a whole home filter really is the better option. Let’s look a little closer at the options available.
- Water filter pitchers. The most popular, least invasive filtration option available, water filter pitchers are affordable and easy to set up. You really just take them out of the box, add the filter cartridge, flush it out, and it’s ready to use. They only produce so much water at a time, however, and may get clogged. For a small household looking for purified drinking water, this isn’t a breaker. If your water demands or purification needs are higher, or you’d like to avoid taking up countertop space, keep looking.
- Under sink water filters. For on demand filtered water for drinking and cooking, an under sink system is a good pick. It’s a bit more expensive than water filter pitchers or the faucet mounted type, but it’s tucked away where it won’t be an eyesore. At least as effective as other budget water filtration options, but considerably more attractive and with fairly low maintenance requirements.
- Faucet mounted water filters. Faucet mounted water filters twist right on to your kitchen faucet. They offer similar convenience to an under sink water filter, but without any changes to your plumbing. Neither are difficult to install, but faucet mounted filters are considerably easier to set up on your own. The water filtration process is fairly rudimentary, but to improve water taste and to remove the most harmful contaminants, like lead, faucet mounted water filters get the job done. Usually, they have a switch built in to let you switch between using filtered and unfiltered water.
- Countertop water filters. Countertop water filters are often like a mix between under sink and faucet mounted. Many units attach to your kitchen faucet, but their water filtration process is somewhat more sophisticated than what faucet water filters can do.
- Whole house water filters. Arguably the most convenient option, whole house water filter systems purify water before it ever gets to your faucet or shower. They’re installed near the point water enters your home, earning the name “point-of-entry” filtration. Is filtered shower water really that important, you may ask? The main benefit of whole home systems isn’t related to health, but to the longevity of your plumbing system and appliances. By removing sediment, whole house water filter systems are beneficial to homes that run on well water and city water alike.
You can find reviews of our favorite whole house water filters here:
- Reverse osmosis water filtration systems. Reverse osmosis systems are like the gold standard of water filtration, but they aren’t without flaws. They remove the most impurities of any type of water filter – up to 99%! They’re usually installed under your kitchen sink, but whole house ro systems are available as well if you don’t mind the massive leap in price. The one downside is that ro systems use a fine membrane that can easily clog if too much sediment or other large contaminants get caught on its surface. To protect the membrane, a pre-filter is usually a required step, especially for those on well water.
Whichever filtration type you’re considering, it’s wise to conduct a water test first. This will tell you exactly what your home’s water chemistry looks like and will inform your filter decision. Not all water filters can handle the same contaminants and concentration levels. Do careful research on each model on your list to be sure it’s well suited to the level of water filtration your home requires.
How Much Do Water Filters Cost?
The least expensive option available is usually a pitcher or faucet mounted water filter. Both run between $15-70. While faucet mounted water filters require a little setup, it’s easy to do on your own. Both are excellent options for renters because they don’t make any permanent changes to the plumbing system, but if you’re considering a faucet mounted option, check to make sure your style of faucet is compatible.
Countertop filters filter a lot more water at once, but they’re also more expensive and take up more counter space. You can expect to spend between $50-150+ for a decently made countertop water filter. Under sink water filters sit in a similar price range, around $50-200. They may require professional installation, however, so add in the cost of a plumber as you’re weighing your options.
Reverse osmosis systems are where water filters start to get a little more expensive. They cost up to $450, and that’s just for an under sink version. Their purity levels are unmatched, but they often need professional installation and waste a considerable amount of water.
Whole house water filter systems are the most expensive of all, starting at $300 and skyrocketing to $1000 or more. They provide your entire home with filtered water and protect your plumbing from wear and tear, but they are likely to require installation by a plumber and filter water nowhere near as well as a reverse osmosis system.
Additional Costs to Consider
As you can see above, aside from pitchers, countertop systems, and faucet filters, most water filters require proper installation. The cost depends on so many factors, including how complicated the system is, the location of installation, additional material costs, and where you live. On average, installation costs start around $150 and go up to $300 and more for under sink and reverse osmosis systems, or $500 for whole house system installations.
If serious modification needs to be done to your current plumbing, the cost will be much more – another $1,000 at least. Optional removal and disposal of old appliances and parts will cost an extra $100 or so. If you’re good with tools and familiar with basic plumbing, you may be able to handle the installation of more complicated systems yourself, saving you several hundred dollars in the first year.
With maintenance, you’ll notice a similar theme. The more high-tech the water filter, the more expensive the maintenance. For faucet mounted systems and pitchers, the annual maintenance costs will usually stay below $150. Countertop water filters, under sink water filters, and reverse osmosis systems can cost up to $200 a year to maintain, and whole house water filter systems can cost up to $300.
- Before you hire a plumber, make sure they’re licensed and insured. Many plumbing companies are rated by the Better Business Bureau as well.
- To be extra safe, check reviews online to see what past customers say about their services.
- You can also ask for a written estimate before your new plumber gets to work so you won’t be surprised by an unexpectedly large bill.
|Type||Price||Install||Replacement Filters (Cost per Year)|
|Whole House Water Filter||$300–1,000+||$150-500+||$100-300|
|Reverse Osmosis System||$200–450||$150-300+||$50-200|
|Under Sink Water Filter||$50–200||$150-300+||$20-200|
|Countertop Water Filter||$50–150+||$0||$100-200|
|Faucet Mounted Water Filter||$15–70||$0||$20-50|
|Water Filter Pitcher||$15–70||$0||$50-150|
Well Water Filtration System Cost
Predicting the price of well water filtration is nearly impossible without a thorough water test. Measure your water conditions first using an at home test kit, or hire a professional to recommend a filtration option suitable for your specific water conditions. Whatever you do, do NOT pick just any water filter with good ratings and hope it happens to work. If you guess wrong, you’ll waste hundreds, so take the extra time to get it right on the first go.
In a few words…
Few (if any!) whole house water filters are suitable for those on a very low budget. If it’s within your price range, however, the larger initial investment is worth the benefits. It’s by far the most convenient option, and it will serve your family well for years if you care for it properly.
So what’ll it be? If you’re still not sure which water filter is right for you, post a question below and we’ll do our best to help you make the right choice.