Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
A countertop water filter is generally a small affair, at least, compared to the multi-component undercounter systems that are also available. If you don’t mind – or even prefer – a tower-like gadget sitting on or near your sink, then a countertop model may be what you’ve been looking for.
How do you know which model is the best countertop water filter for you? That’s what this article may help you figure out. There are many from which to choose. This article reviews 5 of the more popular models so you can get some idea of what they are like and, even if you don’t like any of these, you’ll at least have an idea of what to look for elsewhere.
If you’re in a hurry and would just like to see the pricing and availability of these countertop filtration systems at Amazon, you can click (tap) a link in the list below.
- AquaCera Countertop
- Zen Water Systems Vitality 4-Gallon Countertop
- Berkey Travel Water Filter
- APEX MR-1050 Countertop Drinking Water Filter
- New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus Water Filter
If you want to skip ahead to a specific section of this review, you can click (tap) a link in the box below. Otherwise, you can keep scrolling (swiping) and reading as usual.
How Do I Know Which Filter to Get?
Different water filters filter different things. Before you can pick one, you really should find out more about your water, your current usage, and how much space you have available.
You can test your water to see what contaminants are in it that you want filtered out. If you don’t have any lead in your water, you really don’t need a system that filters lead, do you?
Filters – even countertop models – provide various capacities. Calculate how much water you use on average for a day (or longer) and compare that (when possible) to the output possible from a given filter. Can you live with the amount that filter will give you?
Check the pH balance of your water. Some filter can help adjust the balance for you. Water with a proper pH can be healthier for you.
Finally, look at how much counter space you actually have. Countertop systems are not all created equally. That is, each has its own footprint. You may or may not have room for the model you’re considering. It would be a shame to get that one and not have space to install it.
AquaCera Countertop Systems
AquaCera gives you lots of options with their countertop systems. They have HCP, HCS, and Twin HCP systems. As best I can figure, HCP means something like Home Countertop Polyester, and HCS means Home Countertop Stainless (Steel).
You can choose from a handful of filters to use inside each of these filtration systems. For HCP, you can select any of the following.
The last three in that list are also available for both the Twin and the HCS systems.
The HCP CeraSyl filter gives you bacteria and cyst protection. An HCP CeraUltra filter also provides bacteria and cyst protection, plus chlorine, lead and mercury filtering. In addition, it help with taste and odor.
The HCP CeraMetix removes all the above plus chloramines, fluoride, other heavy metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
You might choose the HCP AquaMetix, if you’re not worried about bacteria or cysts. It handles chloramines, chlorine, lead, fluoride, heavy metals, and VOCs.
The HCP unit is 12 ½ inches tall. Its base measures 4 inches by 5 inches. Do you have room for a model that size?
Note that the AquaCera models will not work with faucets with built-in sprayers. So if you have this type of sink setup, move on to the next brand.
The AquaCera HCS model is virtually the same as an HCP, except that the housing is made of stainless steel. This should make it easier to clean than the HCP. The HCS unit is 12 ⅜ inches tall, and the base is 4 ½ inches wide.
The HCP Twin model gives you 2 filters. You can use the CeraUltra or the CeraMetix in the first stage. The second stage uses the AquaMetix. Thus, if you have the counter space, this model will remove more gunk from your water than the others.
The Twin is the same height (12 ½ inches) as a regular HCP, but it obviously has a larger footprint, measuring 4 inches by 9 inches at its base.
Zen Water Systems Vitality 4-Gallon Countertop
Using the Zen Vitality 4-gallon filter, you’ll either be able to use about 4 gallons of water per day (as the model name suggests) or perhaps around 5 gallons as Zen’s own description states. If you’re confused by that, I would suggest planning for 4 gallons and be pleasantly surprised if you get more.
This unit comes in two sections. The upper tank holds 1 ½ gallons of water while the lower holds 2 ½. Overall, it measures about 22 inches high and 13 inches in diameter. Again, see if you have counter space you want to give up for a filter like this.
Zen says that you can use the unit without the base. That would cut about 6 inches off the height.
The Zen water filter system tries to copy the process found in a natural mineral spring in a compressed time frame, with these 5 functions: filtering, purifying, mineralizing, preserving, and magnetizing.
Those functions occur over 6 stages. Stage 1 involves the micro-ceramic filter dome atop the unit. According to Zen…
“When contaminated water is poured in the filter, it will trap dirt, debris, contaminants and most bacteria before the water passes to the ‘clean’ side of the filter and down into the 5-Stage Mineral Filter Cartridge for further filtration and purification.”
In Stage 2, the water passes through activated carbon to remove chlorine, radon, solvents, VOCs, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. It also takes out bad tastes and odors.
Stage 3 involves mineral sand that removes “granular impurities” – whatever those may be.
Stage 4 uses “far infrared balls” to make the water better for you. Take it again from Zen.
“Far infrared minerals are known to promote growth and health of living cells. It ionizes and helps activate water molecules in human cells and blood. Far infrared is also known to increase the processing enzyme activity in our digestive tract, as well as boot metabolism.”
In Stage 5 you’ll find zeolite which can adsorb heavy metals, ammonium, and other organic elements. It may also reduce radioactive elements.
Finally, Stage 6 involves the tap itself which is magnetized. Here Zen quotes from YourHealthBase.com, so I will too.
“Magnetized water is claimed to be energy-building, activating, cleansing and detoxifying. There are reports of people resolving bladder problems, recovering quickly from a stroke, alleviating arthritis pain and reducing blood pressure by drinking magnetized water.”
It sounds good, whether you believe it all or not. The question is whether you need all of this or not. You get to be the judge. Have your water tested beforehand.
Berkey Travel Water Filter
You may have heard of the Big Berkey filtration system. This is Big’s little brother, Travel.
This unit is a little smaller than the Zen. It measures 19 inches high and just 7 ½ inches around. What makes it nice for traveling is that you can nest the upper section within the lower, making it only 12 inches high. It will probably fit into your suitcase in this configuration. With 2 filters inside, it weighs just 8 pounds.
Being a smaller unit, you’ll find that this system works best providing water for 1 to 3 people daily. It purifies up to 2 ½ gallons per hour and stores 1 ½ gallons of water.
It comes standard with 2 Black Berkey filters for the upper chamber. You can also add 2 PF-2 fluoride filters in the lower chamber. If you use all 4 filters, realize that this will cut down the flow rate as it takes more time for the water to pass through more filters.
The Berkey system(s) remove bacteria, cysts, and parasites completely. It also helps get rid of the following.
- Organic solvents
- Radon 222
“This system is so powerful it can remove food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance.”
That’s quite a claim, and I have little doubt that it’s true. That said, you’ll probably never need to remove food coloring from your water. Whether this ability means it does equally as well on the contaminants listed, I can’t say for sure, but it probably does.
APEX MR-1050 Countertop Drinking Water Filter
The APEX MR-1050 is a filtration system that helps balance the pH in your water. APEX says…
“As a result, every sip of water you take provides you with antioxidant protection and offers purifying, detoxifying benefits that are a perfect fit for your healthy lifestyle.”
Here is a fairly long list of items the APEX MR-1050 removes.
- Chlorine odors (Chlorine itself too?)
- Escherichia coli (a bacterium commonly referred to as E.coli)
The MR-1050 adds calcium, magnesium, and potassium that your body can use.
The video below shows how to replace a spent filter cartridge. Thus, you’ll get some idea of the ease of installation.
New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus Water Filter
Our final popular water filter is the New Wave Enviro. I won’t take you through the 10 stages that the system reportedly uses. I think you get the basic idea from the Zen system above. Each stage removes something harmful in the water.
What it does take out is the items in another rather lengthy list: Chlorine, trihalomethanes, arsenic, mercury, lead, PCBs, floating solids, asbestos, pesticides, and herbicides.
This unit measures 12 inches in height and is 4 ½ inches by about 5 ¼ inches around. It weighs just over 4 pounds.
A unique feature here is New Wave’s filter change reminder service. Since a filter should last you about a year, it really would be handy to have someone tell you when it’s time for a change. You might be able to tell that you need a new filter just from how the system is performing, but in case you’re not paying attention that closely, there is this complimentary service available for you.
Conclusions about Countertop Water Filters
If you took the time to read through the entire article above, you know that each of these filters does something a little different and comes in a slightly different shape and size.
As I mentioned at the start, the one that’s best for you depends on how much space you have on your counter and what you need or want to remove from your water based on test results.
I think it’s almost irrelevant how much cleaner water each of these can produce in a day. If it doesn’t fit or doesn’t take out the right gunk, then it doesn’t matter how much water you’ll get.
If you need a larger system (one that will give you more water daily) than any of these? Check out these more robust water filtration systems.