So you’re looking for the best water filter pitcher because you don’t want to install a whole home filtration system and you’ve heard that ZeroWater is the one! But other water filter pitchers like the Brita pitcher filter have been around for so long and are the go-to for most people. And maybe you don’t believe the hype that a water filter pitcher could actually reduce your tap water total dissolved solids to zero. And what are total dissolved solids anyway, and why are they important? Is ZeroWater really as good as they say?
You’ve come to the right place to get your questions answered because we’ve done the footwork for you. We’ve gone through the various ZeroWater products, combed through the reviews, and we’ll compare it to Brita water so you understand how they differ. With that, let’s get to it.
What is ZeroWater?
The ZeroWater filtration system is a water filter pitcher or jug that offers 5-stage filtration. Being certified by NSF International against NSF/ANSI 42 and 53, it’s the only water pitcher that leaves zero total dissolved solids (TDS) in your drinking water. It’s the only water filter that meets the FDA standards for purified bottled water, which is below 10 ppm TDS.
ZeroWater vs Brita and other conventional pitchers
With ZeroWater, one filter fits all pitchers and jugs. While most filters just drop into place and don’t form a perfect seal, ZeroWater filters are threaded and screw into place for a sure fit. The filters offer 5-stage ion exchange water filtration while most pitchers are only 2-stage filters and leave about half of the total dissolved solids.
Unlike most pitchers that have a timer, ZeroWater products come with a water TDS meter that measures total dissolved solids so you’ll know how well your filter is performing and when to change it. Conventional filters like Brita filters use only granulated carbon whereas ZeroWater uses ion exchange technology. Because of the 5-stage filtration, ZeroWater filters have a filtration speed of 6.5 ounces per minute, which is slower than conventional 2-stage filters, but if high-quality, clean water is what you’re after, it’s worth the wait.
What are total dissolved solids?
Total dissolved solids (TDS) are organic and inorganic impurities that affect the water taste, odor and appearance. These impurities can come from old pipes, farm run-off, road run-off, and poor industrial practices and can include things like sediment, chlorine, fluoride, minerals, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides and microplastics, among others.
Most city water in the US falls into the 50-200 TDS range, however water with TDS of 300-500 are not unheard of. But no matter what your TDS level is, even water with lower TDS might contain harmful contaminants.
ZeroWater filters consist of a mix of activated carbon and KDF (kinetic degradation fluxion, which is highly pure copper-zinc granules) and mixed ion exchange resin. Let’s look at what exactly the 5-stage filtration system does.
Stage 1 filtration removes visible or suspended solids such as dust or rust that cause cloudiness.
Stage 2 is a foam distributor that removes additional dissolved solids.
Stage 3 consists of a multi-layer activated carbon filter and an oxidation reduction alloy that removes organic contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, mercury, chlorine, chloramine, and stops bacterial growth. However, the filter is not designed to remove microbial contaminants but rather inhibit bacterial growth in the filter.
Stage 4 is a dual ion exchange resin that removes inorganic compounds such as metals, non-metals and radiological contaminants. The mixed ion exchange resin contains cations that release hydrogen (H+) into the water and anions that release hydroxide (OH-) ions into the water by exchanging them for impurities which they trap in the resin. Hydrogen and hydroxide then combine to form water (H20).
Stage 5 is an ultra-fine screen with non-woven membrane layers that remove remaining suspended solids. This screen also helps hold the resin in place.
ZeroWater vs Brita
What do conventional water pitchers and ZeroWater pitchers filter out fairly equally well?
Metals: antimony, arsenic V, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium 3, chromium 6, copper, iron, mercury, zinc
Inorganic non-metals: chlorine, nitrite, microplastics
What additional metals and inorganics does ZeroWater do a better job at filtering out than Brita and other conventional filters?
Metals: arsenic III, lead, manganese, selenium, silver, thallium. ZeroWater filters meet the requirements for lead in tap water of 15 ppb (parts per billion).
Inorganics: asbestos, cyanide, fluoride, nitrate. Also removes chloramines, although chloramines will degrade the filter much quicker as with most carbon-based filters.
More about ZeroWater filters
The ZeroWater pitcher produces a similar result to distilled water, removing everything that is not water, although the process is much different and the taste is much better. ZeroWater also yields a similar result as reverse osmosis (RO) filtration but without the water waste and complexity of an RO system.
Side note: One great thing about ZeroWater filters is that they can be recycled with the company! They offer a form you can fill out to recycle your filters with them and get a discount on your next filter purchase in return.
What about mineral deficiencies?
If ZeroWater brings the total dissolved solids down from as high as the 700s to zero, doesn’t that cause health problems by leaching minerals from the body? Apparently, not really. According to a review done by the Water Quality Association (WQA), drinking water with low TDS does not cause health problems.
If one has been exerting themselves physically and sweating, then rehydrating with this type of water might not be favorable since in such conditions, the body needs electrolytes as well. Also, those with illnesses might require some additional mineral supplementation. But healthy people are not harmed by cooking with and drinking pure water with zero dissolved solids.
How long do ZeroWater filters last?
In general, ZeroWater filters are rated for 18,000 mg of total dissolved solids or 20 gallons of water, meaning you can filter about 20 gallons of water before having to change the filter. The higher the TDS, the sooner your filter will need to be changed. The filter life for some might be days to weeks while others get months out of theirs.
If your water quality is within the 50-200 TDS range of most US cities, the filter will process 20-40 gallons of water before needing to be changed. However, tap water with a TDS of 400 or more might cause your filter to need changing every 8 gallons.
If your filter isn’t changed in time, it may change the taste and smell of your water and the TDS might actually read higher than your tap water due to passing through exhausted ion exchange resin beads.
Rather than waiting for the taste to change as many mistakenly do, follow the instructions and test your water regularly. Change the filter when the digital TDS meter reads 006. The meter reads total dissolved solids in parts per million (ppm).
With proper maintenance, ZeroWater can cost as little as 50 cents per gallon, but this can vary greatly. The best way to find out how cost-effective ZeroWater will be for you is to either test your water in advance so you know what’s in it, or just head to the ZeroWater website and put in your zip code, and you’ll get an approximation of total dissolved solids in your water for your area.
Zero Water filter pitcher reviews
Let’s move on to the products offered by ZeroWater and the general consensus of consumer reviews about each one.
ZeroWater offers several sizes of water pitchers and jugs. The best place to start is to purchase a pitcher and filter pack.
Ideal for a household of one to two people and the smallest of them all, this 7-cup ZeroWater pitcher has a space-saving design to fit in your fridge door. The dimensions of the pitcher are 10 inches tall x 10.5 long (handle to spout) x 5 inches wide. As with all ZeroWater products, it comes with a filter cartridge and a TDS meter.
According to reviews:
Some people have said it doesn’t fit in their fridge door, so check your dimensions before purchasing. Some people wish the pitcher had a water meter holder, but due to its space saving design, this feature is reserved for the larger pitchers. Some pitchers might experience leakage at the handle, which is a manufacturing defect that should be exchanged right away.
This pitcher is sometimes purchased along with one of the larger jugs you’ll read about further down. Out of over 1500 reviews, three-quarters are 5-star reviews.
- 7 Cup Water Filter
- Removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids
- Light up TDS indicator
This 10 cup pitcher has a beautiful design and is one of the most affordable of all the ZeroWater pitchers. It does have a space-saving design (although some say otherwise depending on their fridge space), and the dimensions are 8.5 x 6.5 10.25 inches (L x W x H). There is an 8-cup pitcher as well with similar dimensions, just a bit shorter.
According to reviews:
The pour spout provides a wide a stream of water when pouring, making it difficult to pour into a narrow bottle. If this could be an issue for you, have a look at the 12-cup pitcher with the ready-pour spout below.
You may need to hold the lid on when pouring so it doesn’t fall off and cause spillage. Filling it adequately might take some time due to the upper reservoir being about 2 cups, and then you’ll need to wait about 10 minutes for it to filter before adding more. And do not try to pour water while it’s filtering as it might spill.
Heaviness might be an issue for some people, although this would go for any full water pitcher. If this is an issue for you, consider going with the 7-cup pitcher above or one of the larger jugs below with a spigot.
Since the built-in holder for the water meter is on top of the lid, it would be best to remove the water meter while adding water to the pitcher so it doesn’t get wet and corrode the batteries or ruin the meter. However, if this does happen, you can put new batteries in the water meter or purchase a new water meter for about the price of a filter.
All in all, of over two thousand ratings, three-quarters are 5-star.
- 10 Cup Water Filtering Pitcher: You'll always have cleaner, pure tasting water on hand with our space saving filter pitcher in your fridge; The included, free water quality meter lets you test your water, so you never have to wonder about its quality
- Five Stage Water Filtration: Unlike many water filters and pitchers, ZeroWater filters use 5 stages of filtration, to bring you cleaner, better tasting water; Instead of carbon filtering only, our filters use Ion Exchange Technology to reduce contaminants
- Not An Ordinary Water Filter: ZeroWater filters filter water in 5 stages, are NSF certified to reduce lead and other heavy metals; Zerowater removes 99;6% of total dissolved solids, 2X more than the leading brand (tested by independent lab)
- Get More Out Of Your Water: Remove more impurities from your water with ZeroWater's unique, 5 stage filter system; With a variety of options, you can have cleaner water anywhere, from pitchers, bottle filtration systems, or portable on the go cup filters
- Get The Lead Out: ZeroWater filters are the only pour through filters NSF Certified to remove chromium and lead; Our pitchers, tumblers, and dispensers remove virtually all solids for the purest tasting water
This 12 cup pitcher is the flagship model. Its dimensions are 11.4 inches high x 12.2 in length including the spigot and handle x 5.9 inches wide. It has an easy-pour spout so that you can easily fill your cup or narrow bottle with one hand, or you can pour it like a regular water pitcher. It also features a built-in water meter holder on the lid of the pitcher.
According to reviews:
The biggest complaint with the design is that the pour spout has a wide span, making it difficult to pour water into narrow openings like bottles. But the ready-pour spigot is useful for overcoming this issue. The lid may also fall off when pouring, so you may need to hold the lid on when pouring.
All in all, like the other pitchers, three quarters of the reviews gave 5 stars.
- 12-cup capacity
- one-handed push to dispense spout to fill any bottle or cup
- built-in tds meter holder
- Flash point: 200.0 degrees_celsius
This 23-cup jug offers the best value! You basically get the water jug for free, or a better deal on the filters. You can also just get the 23-cup pitcher by itself and then buy the filters separately. This 23-cup version seems to be the newer replacement version of the 20-cup jug which is about 10.5 inches tall, 6 inches wide and 10 inches deep (12 inches including the spigot). The top reservoir holds 5 cups of water.
According to reviews:
The spigot might leak or become damaged with regular use; however, it is possible to get a replacement spigot. It fits nicely on the countertop or in the fridge (but check your dimensions first). This is the ideal size for a larger family or for those who go through a lot of drinking water.
Of over 21,000 reviews on Amazon, three quarters gave five stars. This is clearly one of the most commonly purchased ZeroWater models.
- Product 1: ZEROWATER REPLACEMENT FILTERS: Ensure you are drinking pure-tasting, cleaner water by replacing your ZeroWater pitcher filters regularly. Our replacement filters fit in all ZeroWater pitchers and water dispensers, from the smallest pitcher to the largest.
- Product 1: FIVE STAGE WATER FILTRATION: Unlike many water filters & pitchers, ZeroWater filters use 5 stages of filtration, to bring you cleaner, better tasting water. Instead of carbon filtering only, our filters use Ion Exchange Technology to reduce contaminants.
- Product 1: NOT AN ORDINARY WATER FILTER: ZeroWater filters filter water in 5 stages, are NSF certified to reduce lead and other heavy metals. Zerowater removes 99.6% of total dissolved solids, 2X more than the leading brand (tested by independent lab).
- Product 1: GET MORE OUT OF YOUR WATER: Remove more impurities from your water with ZeroWater's unique, 5 stage filter system. With a variety of options, you can have cleaner water anywhere, from pitchers, bottle filtration systems, or portable on-the-go cup filters.
- Product 2: 23 CUP WATER DISPENSER: With a slim tank and no-drip spigot, ZeroWater's filtered water dispenser is great for office or home use. Pour a glass of filtered, clean tasting water while the reservoir keeps filtering, includes a water quality meter.
If you’re wanting the largest ZeroWater jug you can get, this is it. This purchase is for the jug and two filters and TDS meter. It’s designed to sit atop a water cooler or reservoir stand (preferably stainless steel) which you’ll need to purchase separately.
The top reservoir is 2.5 gallons, and the lower reservoir for filtered water is 4.5 gallons although the fill line holds up to 3 gallons.
According to reviews:
Many people have complained that this water jug does not fit on most standard water coolers or reservoirs as claimed. However, others have found ways to make it work by removing plastic parts such as the spike and the splash guard.
According to ZeroWater, the water cooler or stand reservoir should be 6 inches wide and 6 inches deep and free from obstructions. Our recommendation is to read the reviews before purchasing to get tips on which stands, reservoirs or coolers work well with it and what modifications might need to be made.
Some may be able to refill the jug five to six times before having to change the filters, which is apparently more affordable than a conventional water cooler jug exchange program; however, some fill it only a few times before having to change the filters. People typically get 2 weeks to 2 months out of the filters depending on your water quality.
Another problem some people have experienced is leakage of unfiltered water into the filtered water reservoir. This can happen if the filters are cross-threaded, so ensure the filters are screwed in correctly.
All in all, over three quarters of the reviews for this product were 5-star, and even of those who experienced problems, many stated that they loved the water quality and taste otherwise.
- Filtered Water Cooler Jug: Enjoy clean tasting water every time with our 5 gallon refillable bottle; It features two filters to ensure each sip to be clean and pure; Perfect for use in home and office
- 5 Stage Filtration: Water passing through this filter moves through five distinct sections that remove the visible harmful solids, inorganic compounds, and contaminants with its ion exchange technology
- Improved Water Quality: This high quality water dispenser includes a water quality meter; Now you can easily check the water TDS levels anytime and replace the filter in your pitcher accordingly
- NSF certified: ZeroWater filters filter water in 5 stages, are NSF certified to reduce lead and other heavy metals; Zerowater removes 99;6% of total dissolved solids, 2X more than the leading brand
Filter replacement costs and tips
You do need to watch out for knock-off filters, as some people report some replacement filters not working well right out of the box or they look a bit different. If this happens, be sure to send it back right away and ask for replacements.
Some people have also reported receiving wet filters they believe are used. ZeroWater does rinse filters before packaging them so that they arrive ready to use, no need to prep them. So that may be what has happened. But most filters arrive dry. So if you’re unsure, just send it back and request replacements.
Important note: the filters apparently give an awful taste to the water when they’re exhausted. However, ZeroWater does recommend regular testing with their water meter to know when to change the filter and not to rely on the change in taste. So be sure to follow the instructions.
Also, wash out your pitcher or jug regularly by hand to avoid smells.
And finally, if your water meter stops working, never fear! Just buy a new one for about the same price as a single filter cartridge.
According to most customers, ZeroWater is the best pitcher out there. It’s better-tasting than Brita, according to many reviews; however, it’s more costly than the Brita filter. But that’s because it removes lead, chromium, fluoride, pesticides and herbicides including glyphosate – one of the only pitchers that does. It’s more affordable upfront and less intrusive than installing a whole house RO system. It’s not made in China, which is a nice change. The filters can last up to two months depending on your water quality, and the filter cartridge recycling program gives you a discount on future filter purchases, not to mention keeping them out of the landfill which is more environmentally friendly.
For best results, here are our recommendations:
Read and follow all the instructions – it’s worth it!
Be prepared to wait a bit longer for the 5 stage filter to do its work, but patience will give you good results.
You may need to change your filters more often than you’d like, but that just tells you how much non-water material is in your water.
Finally, if you do all the above, be prepared for crisp, fresh, great-tasting, pure, clean water from your ZeroWater jug or pitcher.
Q: Are ZeroWater products made in China?
A: ZeroWater products are assembled in Mexico, although the various parts are manufactured in the US, Mexico, India and China.
Q: Can ZeroWater filters replace regular well water filters?
A: No they can’t. But once well water has been filtered, ZeroWater works its magic.
Q: Does ZeroWater filter out microbiological contaminants?
A: No it doesn’t. It simply inhibits the growth of bacteria within the filter.
Q: Does ZeroWater remove pharmaceuticals?
A: ZeroWater filters have not been tested to reduce pharmaceuticals in the water.
Q: Do ZeroWater pitchers or filters leach plastic into the water?
A: ZeroWater filters have passed a plastics leaching test and do not leach plastic or PVC. They also remove 99% of microplastics in the water. The filters and pitchers are made of BPA-free plastic.
Q: Does ZeroWater have a warranty?
A: They offer a 90-day warranty for the pitcher and a 30-day warranty for filters for manufacturer defects.
Q: Do ZeroWater filters change the pH of the water?
A: ZeroWater filters are not designed to change the pH of your water. However, some people have found it to be a bit on the acidic side of neutral. If this happens, it might be time to change your filter.
Q: Do ZeroWater filters remove good minerals as well as heavy metals and other contaminants?
A: Yes, everything is removed from the water. If you’re concerned about insufficient mineral levels in your water, simply add mineral drops to the filtered water reservoir, or ensure you’re getting sufficient minerals from other sources. But according to WQA, drinking low TDS water is safe.
Q: Do ZeroWater filters remove lead?
A: Yes, ZeroWater filters remove lead sufficiently.
Q: Do ZeroWater filters remove fluoride?
A: Yes, ZeroWater filters remove fluoride.