The best water filter jugs aren't essential if you live where the tap water is safe to drink. However, water filter jugs are still extremely useful if you want to reduce limescale and have water – and beverages made from hot or cold water – that tastes better.
One thing I’m sure we’ll all agree on is that buying bottled water makes us feel like we’re being ripped off. Why pay for something that we are lucky enough to have access to on tap? Unfortunately, the quality and taste of our tap water varies in different areas. In some areas it’s pure as anything, and refreshingly cold.
However, for some hard water areas and areas where the water is treated with fluoride, it can leave an unpleasant metallic taste in your mouth, which is nobody’s cup of tea. Even if you can stomach that, having to descale your kettle or coffee maker on a regular basis is nobody's idea of fun.
A quick note before we start – these are filter jugs designed for at-home use. If you want something that'll remove nasties from water in the wild, head to our best water purifier guide instead.
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If your tap water is safe but hard and unpalatable, this is all you need. Brita's Maxtra+ filter doesn't remove heavy metals and industrial effluent from your water like the ZeroWater below, but it does greatly reduce limescale deposits on your kettle, coffee machine and teapot. It also ensures the water tastes better and as a result, your tea, coffee etc can also taste much better.
Filters are easy to find online and in supermarkets, and you'll always know when to change them, thanks to a traffic light system. Based on a motion sensor that knows how many times you've poured water from the jug, this shows green for all systems go; amber for 'you need to change soon' and red for 'seriously, now you really must change it'. This is important not just because Brita want to sell you more filters – although they do, obviously – but also because worn out filters are not merely ineffective but potentially dangerous, since they can start to harbour mould and bacteria.
The only problem I found with this system is that colour blind people can't always tell what traffic light is currently flashing, as the shades of green, red and amber that Brita uses are not distinct enough from each other.
Read our full Brita Style review to find out more.
ZeroWater claims to be the only water filter brand that delivers the equivalent of purified bottled water in your home. The ZeroWater jugs use a 5-stage filtration system to achieve this and to help prove its claim, the jug comes with a TSD (total dissolved solids) meter so you can check your water before and after it’s been filtered.
So does it work? Yes. We tried two tap water samples, where one had a reading of 270PPM (parts per million) and the other a reading of 280PPM, and after running them through the ZeroWater system both samples had a reading of zero. We then filtered water with a 280PPM reading in two separate Brita jugs and found readings of 222PPM and 171PPM.
Whether you want such pure drinking water is a personal choice. If you do then the ZeroWater is your best option, but it does come at a cost as replacement filters will set you back £19.99 each. We should point out, too, that the dissolved solids left behind by the Brita (and those that you'll find in bottled mineral waters) are not harmful.
The Brita Marella XL Water Filter Jug is a reliable brand and is one of the best water purifier jugs for the fridge as its size and shape fits perfectly in the door. However, it is slightly deceptive in size, as 3.5 litres is the total capacity but the filtered water capacity is only 2 litres. This water purifier takes Brita MAXTRA filters which, although pricey, remove chlorine, limescale and all other impurities from your water successfully.
Okay, so this may seem a little OTT, but this water purification system is designed for those who need long-term solutions. If you live in an area where the water isn’t safe to drink, or you don’t have access to tap water, this industrial option can purify even the dirtiest of water from rivers, ponds, and foreign water supplies. It’s huge, so we don’t blame you if you don’t want to lug it around, but it can be handy if you are going camping for a serious amount of time. Its filters only needs to be changed every 22,700 Litres so it’s not much hassle if you really must have purified water.
Most of us carry a bottle of water in the car or to the gym, so this water bottle is a great alternative for when you’re on the move. The BRITA Fill and Go will save you money on bottled water every day, and filters are relatively cheap when bought in packs, but they do need to be changed once a week for the best tasting water. For the impatient, these bottles filter as you drink so you don’t have hang around just to quench your thirst.
If you’re looking for a water purifier jug that matches your kitchen and doesn’t break the bank then this BWT Mineral Water Jug is the one to get. It comes in pretty much every primary colour and will fit in all fridge doors with ease. If you’re forgetful, the jug has an indicator on the side to remind you to change the cartridges. Be careful though, you are less likely to find replacement filters for these in your local supermarket like you can for brands like Brita.
Still not convinced a water purifier jug can taste as good as bottled water? Well if drinking from a porcelain cylinder equipped with a bamboo stand doesn’t change your mind, we don’t know what will. Just a tiny bit off kilter and quite frankly completely absurd, we’re not sure if this is a fancy minimalist art feature or an X-rated BB8, but what we do know is this is drinking water at its finest. If you’ve got money to burn and love minimalist design, this could be an investment piece that adds to your home’s aesthetics and functionality.
If you’re someone who hates everything mainstream, then you might not be a fan of this. But, everyone is going crazy over the benefits of activated charcoal lately so we just had to put it in! It’s been used in facemasks, toothpaste and now it’s being used to purify your water, too! Ultimately it does the same as any other filter, getting rid of unpleasant tastes and impurities, but the charcoal does last longer (up to 3 months) than a standard filter. So if you like the idea of the BRITA Fill & Go but don’t want to pay through the nose for cartridges every week, opt for this charcoal water filter.
This water purifier jug boasts no frills but does what is says on the tin while making a funky accessory for your kitchen. It may look good, but it has no water chamber meaning it takes ages to fill up. If you’re more about aesthetics than optimum functionality then this jug is a low-cost addition to your kitchen.