10 Well Water Filtration Systems for Contaminant-Free, Better-Tasting Water
A well water filtration system provides safe, drinkable water that's free of contamination.
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“Well water filtration system” describes any device that removes contaminants from well water. There are many reasons to filter water, but namely, well water filtration systems are used to remove tap water contaminants, such as sediment particles, minerals, chemicals and bacteria.
There’s technically no difference between filtration systems for off-grid water sources, like wells, and those for any other residential water source. Although the details of how water filtration systems work vary depending on the type, the basic principle is the same: The water filter for your home is installed somewhere between the water source and the point of water use.
What are the most common home filtration systems?
- Refrigerator filters: Many households use pitcher and fridge filters to filter their water. While any filter is better than no filter, these types of filters typically fall short when it comes to contaminant reduction.
- Carbon charcoal filters: Water is filtered through layers of carbon, which absorbs many chemical contaminants.
- Water distillers: Water is boiled and creates steam that recondenses into liquid, removing nearly all chemicals and minerals.
- Sediment filters: Particulate matter like sand, silt and rust is removed from well water. Replaceable filter cartridges serve as a pre-filter for other treatment systems to prevent clogging.
- Whole house water softeners: Hard water minerals (calcium and magnesium) that cause scaling and reduce soap effectiveness are removed from the water. Use an ion exchange to replace hard minerals with sodium or potassium ions.
- Iron and manganese filters: Iron and manganese are removed from the water, which can cause staining and affect water taste.
- UV (ultraviolet) sterilizers: UV light disinfects well water by neutralizing bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. UV sterilizers don’t remove chemical contaminants or sediment, so they’re often used in conjunction with other filtration methods.
- Reverse-osmosis systems: A semipermeable membrane removes a wide range of contaminants including dissolved solids, heavy metals and bacteria. Reverse-osmosis systems can then deliver purified water at a dedicated tap in the kitchen.
According to Derek Mellencamp, Aquasana General Manager and leading national water filtration expert, “While a large number of products have filtration systems, they vary in what they treat and the quality of the treatment.”
“Households tend to purchase point of use (POU) systems that sit under the kitchen sink and filter water out of a dedicated faucet,” he says. “These are a great option if you only want to filter the water you drink, as they’re typically more effective at reducing contaminants. Look for drinking water systems that are independently tested and certified to NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53 or 58 to remove the specific contaminants you want to address (i.e., were detected in your water test).”
Whole house filters are gaining popularity with thousands of homes making the switch to purify their drinking and bathing water. “Whole house filters treat all of the water coming into the home, so if you are on a well or have odor or color issues with your water, you can get filtered water from every tap in your home,” notes Mellencamp.
These systems come in various sizes and designs, and some are easier to install and operate than others. Because there are so many options on the market, it’s hard to nail down just one. However, there’s no need to dig for reviews—our shopping experts did the work for you. These are the 10 best well water filtration systems, backed by research and reviews.
The Best Well Water Filtration Systems
- Best Overall: iSpring Two-Stage Filtration System
- Best Budget: Frizzlife Under Sink Water Filter System
- Best Reverse-Osmosis: Apec Water Systems Five-Stage Filtration System
- Best Sediment: 3M AquaPure Filtration System
- Best Ultraviolet: Hqua Ultraviolet Water Purifier Sterilizer
- Best Carbon: Waterdrop Undersink Carbon Filtration System
- Best Distiller: Mophorn Pure Water Distiller
- Best with Faucet: Whirlpool Reverse-Osmosis Filtration System
- Best Quick-Change: Aqua-Pure Quick Change Water Filter System
- Best Splurge-Worthy: Aquasana Whole House Well Water Filter System
Best Overall Well Water Filtration System
iSpring Two-Stage Filtration System
This budget-friendly water filtration system offers solid performance for the value price tag. It removes nearly all sediments during the first stage and most chemical contaminants with carbon filtering in the second. This whole-house system reduces chlorine, sediment and bad taste.
“In my opinion, these are the best water filters out there in this price range,” writes five-star reviewer, John. “Just this week I have noticed an improvement in the water taste and am starting to notice a difference in the reduction of water spots on dishes after washing.”
- Easy to install and change filters
- Provides up to 50,000 gallons of clean water
- Puts out up to 15 gallons per minute (GPM)
- Won’t eliminate odors
- Won’t remove total dissolved solids (TDS)
Best Budget Well Water Filtration System
Frizzlife Under Sink Water Filter System
Because it’s an under-sink filter, it connects directly to the cold water line. Each filter cartridge works for up to two years, meaning fewer replacements and a lower overall cost.
- Easy to install
- Filter cartridge lasts up to two years
- Won’t remove total dissolved solids (TDS)
Best Reverse-Osmosis Well Water Filtration System
Apec Water Systems Five-Stage Filtration System
Designed and built in the U.S., this reverse-osmosis water filtration system removes nearly all sediments and chemical contaminants. It performs better than many other reverse-osmosis water filters—even ones that cost more. It also comes with a faucet and a two-year warranty, so you can feel good about giving it a try.
A faucet and all the parts required to install it are included. Expect to see, feel and taste water that is as crisp and clean as it gets—without noticeably reduced water pressure.
- 50-gallon capacity
- Multi-stage filtration process reduces total dissolved solids (TDS)
- Doesn’t dramatically reduce pressure like other RO systems can
- No built-in air gap
Best Sediment Well Water Filtration System
3M AquaPure Filtration System
Large capacity, solid flow rate and easy installation are the chief benefits of this heavy-duty filtration system. With an extremely fine five-micron inner filter, almost no sediment can make it through this unit and into your water. The stainless steel fittings and thick plastic outer casing are built to last. This unit filters up to 20 gallons per minute, which is plenty for most homes.
With a 12-month filter life, you don’t have to constantly change the water filter. However, when you do, the quick-change design makes it a painless task. The brand boasts the system’s ability to help increase the life of hot water heaters and appliances.
- 100,000-gallon lifetime filter capacity
- Reduces odors
- Fits in tight spaces
- Requires a pre-filter
Best Ultraviolet Well Water Filtration System
Hqua Ultraviolet Water Purifier Sterilizer
Compact design, high-quality materials, easy installation and extremely effective bacteria removal all make this ultraviolet water purifier sterilizer stand out from the rest. Made of stainless steel, it’s 37 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter. Although it’s fairly compact, the filter gives an impressive flow rate of up to 12 gallons per minute. It reliably removes all bacteria and viruses and comes with an extra UV bulb.
Because it doesn’t use chemicals to filter out unwanted impurities, there’s no risk of water contamination. Reviewers report tastier drinking water, so fill your favorite smart bottle to the brim and enjoy!
- Chemical-free filtration
- Extra bulb included
- Easier to install than other filter types
- Must use copper pipes to avoid UV damage to plastic pipes
Best Carbon Well Water Filtration System
Waterdrop Undersink Carbon Filtration System
If you’re looking for a quality carbon filter that removes unwanted chemicals and fits under your sink, Waterdrop’s water filter system is hard to beat. A little more than a foot long, it fits in most sink cabinets where it’s easy to connect to your water lines. Besides the simple installation, it’s also easy to use and provides nearly one gallon per minute of clean, filtered water.
“This is just what I’ve been looking for. It goes right to my existing faucet. I didn’t want a separate faucet for filtered water. It was very easy to install. I’m out in the country with a well and this helps the water taste better,” writes five-star reviewer, Jennifer M.
- 8,000-gallon capacity
- Retains beneficial materials
- BPA and lead-free components
- Feed water must first go through a pre-filtration system for well water
- Won’t remove total dissolved solids (TDS)
Best Distiller Well Water Filtration System
Mophorn Pure Water Distiller
While it works differently than a shower filter or whole-house filtration system, this water distiller is just the thing for folks who need filtered water for drinking or medical equipment. It filters just over one gallon at a time by using high heat to remove impurities and metals.
Use the resulting purified water for CPAP machines, humidifiers or other appliances where contaminants can ruin interior components. Or, use it to make the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had—we don’t judge!
- Easy to set up right on the counter
- Distilling process begins at the touch of a button
- Stainless steel components last longer than plastic
- Not suitable for whole-home filtration
- Takes 3.5 hours to fully filter a gallon
Best Well Water Filtration System with Faucet
Whirlpool Reverse-Osmosis Filtration System
Apart from the easy installation, the filters last for up to six months before they need to be replaced. A faucet comes with the kit, eliminating any concerns about sink compatibility.
- Faucet indicates when the filter requires replacement
- Doesn’t reduce water pressure
- Unlike some filters, it does remove most total dissolved solids (TDS)
- Filter makes some noise while running
Best Quick-Change Well Water Filtration System
Aqua-Pure Quick Change Water Filter System
Most reviewers report the system is leak-free. However, as with any water filtration system, it’s good practice to pick up a water leak detector to catch any potential issues as soon as they arise.
- 100,000 gallon capacity per filter
- Peak flow rates up to 20 gallons per minute (GPM)
- Can be installed on existing copper pipes
- Only reduces sediment and chlorine
Best Splurge-Worthy Well Water Filtration System
Aquasana Whole House Well Water Filter System
Because it uses several different water filtration types, the system is capable of reducing organic chemicals including pesticides and herbicides in addition to the white flakes present in hard water. An upflow, dual tank design increases water contact time with contaminant-grabbing media and prevents clogging.
- Includes a water softener for hard water
- 14.7-gallon output per minute
- Pre and post-filters included for enhanced performance
What to Look for When Buying a Well Water Filtration System
“We recommend looking for a reputable brand and a system with good reviews that includes sediment, carbon and UV filtration,” says Mellencamp. “Also, in case helpful, the EPA has a state directory with resources to help you find someone that can help test and treat your well water.”
Why You Should Trust Us
I grew up on a rural self-sufficient homestead property where I learned the skills to build my own home from the ground up, including installing a well water filtration system. It’s my passion to find practical DIY solutions to everyday problems.
Emily Way is an associate shopping editor for Family Handyman with experience researching products and recommending the best designs to consumers. She researched and updated this piece. Way consulted Derek Mellencamp, the General Manager at Aquasana and a leading national water filtration expert. Derek Mellencamp joined Aquasana in April of 2010 and is responsible for leading the Aquasana marketing efforts from product management to branding.
How We Found the Best Well Water Filtration Systems
At Family Handyman, we’re always looking to help homeowners and DIYers make the right purchase for their specific needs. We analyzed over 50 top-selling well water filtration systems before narrowing our list down to the 20 filters with the best ratings. From there, we combed through hundreds of reviews, looking for real accounts of how each filter performed for DIYers both experienced and inexperienced. This rigorous research led us to the final filters, with those top 10 making our official list.
What is the best type of filtration system for well water?
“All well water is different,” says Mellencamp. “The one common aspect of well water, however, is that it has not gone through a municipal system that is required to meet standards set forth by the EPA in the Safe Drinking Water Act. That has two implications:
- Well water should be tested before consumed.
- The water has not been disinfected to ensure it is free of bacteria and viruses that can make you sick immediately.
The CDC recommends that private wells should be checked at least once a year for the presence of contaminants, cleanliness, and mechanical problems.”
Mellencamp notes that to avoid getting sick, it’s always best to incorporate a water filtration system any time well water is being used for consumption. “A common way to solve that is with a UV filter that uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, viruses and cysts. Most UV filters will also be equipped with a pre-filter of some sort to reduce sediment. After treating the microorganisms in your water with that type of filter, additional treatment stages may be warranted depending on the water test results,” he says.
What is the cheapest way to filter well water?
The cheapest way to filter well water is using a “point of use” filter, which comes in the form of a countertop or faucet-mounted water filtration system. However, point of use systems can’t filter contaminated water as well as their under-the-sink counterparts. Testing your water is an important step when determining which filter is the most effective.
However, water filtration isn’t always necessary for all well water. “The cheapest way to treat your well water is to do nothing after testing it,” says Mellencamp. “Some water is safe to drink right out of a well.” For most homes, that will not be an option. “Your water test results will likely indicate the minimum treatment level required to keep your water safe to consume,” he says.
“Regardless of the tests, it cannot hurt to buy a whole home filtration system with a sediment filter, a carbon filter and a UV filter. These systems ensure that bacteria and viruses are treated before consumption. In many cases, they will also improve the taste and smell of your water.”
How often do you need to change a well water filter?
Most of the well water filtration systems on this list require yearly filter changes, while a few need to be replaced more frequently. Some filters last for up to 10 years before they need to be replaced. “Filter changes are dependent on the type of filter used,” notes Mellencamp. “Most whole home filters require sediment filter changes every three to six months. UV bulbs typically last a year or longer. Whole home carbon tanks last anywhere from six months to 10 years.”