Think that water filter on your pitcher is removing all of the contaminants in your glass of water? You might want to think again.
Scientists from The Ohio State University compared how efficiently some of the most popular brands of water pitcher filters removed microscopic contaminants. Their initial discovery wasn’t all that surprising. Among the three most popular water filter brands, the cheapest was the least efficient.
What did stand out, however, was just how big a difference there was in the effectiveness of the brands. Cheaper filters, which cost around $15 and are usually made out of coconut-based active carbon, only removed half as many contaminants as the more-expensive models.
Filters with prices around $50, which are made with different blends of activated carbons, worked better. The researchers noted these filters took longer than other brands to clean the same amount of water.
The time and money seem to be worth it. The study recreated the conditions of a 2014 water crisis in Toledo, Ohio that left more than 400,000 residents without drinkable tap water. When scientists used the cheaper brands, over half of the toxins were removed. But when they used the more expensive carbon blends, no toxins could be detected in the water at all.
Most major retail outlets sell pitchers that filter water, and when comparing which brands to buy, don’t just look at the cost. The composition of the filter is the most important part. Look for brands that use carbon blends from multiple sources instead of just one source, like coconut. That way you can be sure each glass of water you drink is really as clear as it looks.