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The Best NSF Certified Water Filters for 2023

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

If you want to give your family only the cleanest, and safest water to drink or use, choose only the best NSF certified water filter.

Leading water filter brands strive to have their products undergo rigorous testing and evaluation by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) to receive the much-coveted stamp of approval. You will never second guess the performance or the quality of these water filtration systems.

best nsf certified water filter

Unfortunately, with so many products bearing the NSF Certified mark, choosing the top-quality product can be confusing, if not challenging.

  • Filtration System Type: NSF-certified water filters come in different types, each offering unique advantages and drawbacks buyers must consider. For example, some products only feature carbon-based filters, while others integrate RO systems and ion exchangers. The more filtration mechanisms a system has, the more expensive it is.
  • Contaminants Removed: The National Sanitation Foundation expects water filters to remove contaminants at high rates. For instance, an NSF42 water filter must eliminate chlorine, taste, and odor, while an NSF55 unit must reduce as many microorganisms as possible. A water filter with a 99% contaminant removal rating is better than a device with 95% efficiency.
  • Filter Lifespan: Filtration systems vary in longevity. For instance, carbon filters typically last six to twelve months, while RO technologies can continue operating for two years before requiring a membrane replacement. Sadly, products often do not have a fixed lifespan in months or years. Instead, they offer filtration capacity (in gallons) to measure longevity. Hence, a 50,000-gallon filter should last longer than a 10,000-gallon unit.

This article will erase the confusion and make you feel more comfortable about choosing the right NSF-certified water filtration system for your home.

Top-Rated Products

Best Overall

ZeroWater ZP-010


Premium Choice

AQUACREST NSF Certified Water Filter


Best Value

iSpring RCC7AK


Table of Contents

Top-Tier NSF Certified Water Filter Reviews 

1. ZeroWater ZP-010 Water Filter

You have got to love ZeroWater for their ingenious design of the ZP-010 NSF-certified water filter pitcher. I know I do. This portable water filtration system delivers great-tasting water without the nasty chemicals that can make meals less enjoyable.

This water pitcher features a five-stage filtration mechanism that is almost similar to whole-house filter systems.

I love its ability to remove dissolved solids. While it is not as efficient as a reverse osmosis system, this pitcher can lower total dissolved solids by up to 99.6 percent. Since it has NSF certification, you can be sure about the product’s TDS-reduction capability.

Its NSF certification also guarantees the efficient removal of chlorine, lead, mercury, arsenic, heavy metals, and other water contaminants.

I also adore the removable digital water quality tester. You can use this small device to test almost any other water. Bring it in your camping trip or hiking adventures, and you will never second-guess the quality of your drinking water.

This water pitcher is like no other. While it may have a water pitcher’s classic design, pouring water is similar to that of a water jug. You can use the spill-proof and leak-proof spigot to get the water you need.

I like its slim design. You can store it on your refrigerator’s door shelf to optimize space. You cannot do that with other water filter pitchers.

The ZeroWater ZP-010 Water Filter Pitcher is nothing short of amazing. Its NSF certification effectively negates any doubts about its filtration performance. It is what every modern family needs to enjoy safe drinking water.

Unfortunately, some families may find its ten-cup capacity to be on the small side of things. Additionally, you will have to check the digital water tester’s battery lifespan to ensure accuracy and optimum functioning.
What We Like
  • Five-stage filtration system for optimal water contaminant removal
  • Reduces total dissolved solids for optimum water quality
  • Removable digital water quality tester for hassle-free water quality evaluation
  • Integrated water dispenser spigot for spill-free water delivery
  • Slim design for ease of refrigerator storage
What We Don’t Like
  • Battery required for water quality tester operation
  • Small capacity for some families

2. AQUACREST NSF Certified Water Filter

Instead of buying an OEM faucet water filter, you might want to get AQUACREST’s RF-9999. This device is an NSF-certified filter that works with major faucet water filtration systems.

Looking at the NSF certified water filters list, it is incredible how a small device can perform like a big water filtration unit. This replacement filter cartridge features a premium-quality coconut carbon block for removing as many particles as possible from your water. It also gives the device an eco-friendly design.

I like the way this filter removes chlorine and its associated taste and odor. It can reduce chlorine by as much as 97.2 percent. Though some systems can do better, you should consider this product’s compact size. It would even achieve a 99% chlorine reduction rating if it were bigger.

Increasing its size will limit its use on faucet water filtration systems. That is why this unit is the perfect solution for any household with an existing faucet water filter.

In addition to chlorine removal, this unit also assures you of the absence of lead, asbestos, formaldehyde, and other toxic substances in your water. I will be more than happy to drink straight from the tap, knowing I am not consuming any of these nasty chemicals.

This product is also recommended for both vertical and horizontal filter systems. You can also have peace of mind that it is an NSF 42 certified for chlorine removal and NSF 372 certified for its lead-free design and construction.

The AQUACREST RF-9999 may be expensive, but it does a good job removing chlorine and other chemicals from your drinking or cooking water. It fits major brands of faucet water filtration systems, too.

While I appreciate the filter’s design, I wish the company could improve its lifespan. I have seen products with a filter lifespan of 200 gallons. This unit only accommodates half that, translating to more frequent purchases. If you add its unit price, it may come out as a slightly more expensive replacement option.
What We Like
  • Recommended for horizontal and vertical faucet water filter systems
  • NSF 42 certification for excellent chlorine removal
  • NSF 372 approval for product’s lead-free design
  • Premium coconut carbon block for higher water filtration efficiency
  • Compatible with major faucet water filter brands
What We Don’t Like
  • Not as long-lasting as other replacement filters
  • A bit more expensive than other brands

3. iSpring RCC7AK NSF Certified Water Filter

The iSpring RCC7AK is a revolutionary water filtration system that features two ingenious water treatment technologies for safe and high-quality water. The system offers exceptional filtration performance with a style that shames other products on the market.

Ideal for small to medium-sized households, this water filtration system can remove total dissolved solids and other water impurities. It also maintains the ideal pH of drinking water for improved health benefits. Alkaline water can boost your immune system, cleanse the colon, and improve cancer resistance.

At the core of this six-stage system is a reverse osmosis unit. It pushes water molecules through a semipermeable membrane, leaving behind other particles. The system’s ability to remove all non-water elements can lead to changes in water pH. Thankfully, the company integrated an AK filter to alkalinize water.

I love the installation hardware included with the system. I also find the installation manual an easy read, even for absolute beginners. However, some folks can still find its installation a bit tricky. Nevertheless, the kit’s completeness makes it an exceptional find for people who do not have the time to look for the necessary hardware.

While this product has an under-the-sink design, I think it can be a reliable NSF certified whole house filter. You may need to plan well where you intend to connect it to your main water line if you choose to go down this route.

The iSpring RCC7AK is the top-quality water filtration system you can get for your family. It has a reverse osmosis system and an alkalinizing technology to beef up its filtration capabilities. You cannot get a better deal than this.

The RO and alkalinizing technology embedded into this unit can make it less appealing to budget-conscious families. Interestingly, it does not cost that much compared to installing different filtration systems to achieve the same result.
What We Like
  • Recommended for small to medium-sized families
  • Efficient removal of all dissolved solids
  • Alkalinizes water for improved health benefits
  • Six-stage filtration system for optimum contaminant removal
  • Complete set for installation
What We Don’t Like
  • Some folks may find its installation a bit challenging
  • A bit expensive due to advanced technology

4. Waterdrop NSF Certified Water Filtration

With mostly positive NSF water filter ratings, the Waterdrop WD-C-O1 makes its way to the top of our list of the top-rated NSF-certified water filtration systems. This awesome-looking and stylish faucet-mounted filter delivers safe drinking and cooking water for everyone in the home.

I admire the certification of this unit, mainly its NSF 372 rating. Never again will you fret about having lead, formaldehyde, benzene, cadmium, BPA, and other toxic chemicals in your water. Ensuring your family’s health and safety is a breeze with this unit mounted in your kitchen faucet.

I also love the device’s NSF 42 certification. You can free your nose from the odd smell of chlorine as well as that of other contaminants. The water will taste great, making it ideal for cooking sumptuous meals, making barista-style coffee, or even concocting a great summer beverage for everyone to enjoy.

This water filter features six stages of industry-leading water filtration technologies. It can filter almost every other water contaminant, except microorganisms. It also negates the odd tastes and odors of these impurities. The other good news is that the filter retains all the elements necessary for maintaining your health.

Installing this unit is worry-free. As long as you have basic plumbing tools, you can mount this unit in your faucet’s spout. Once installed, you can use the filter for up to 10,000 cycles or about 320 gallons.

No filter can remove all water contaminants. However, the Waterdrop WD-FC-01’s water filtration performance makes it the right choice for any family that wants the best-tasting and safest water to cook or drink.

The water filtration system’s maximum operating temperature of 122 degrees Fahrenheit makes it unsuitable for hot water faucets. Additionally, this product does not filter microorganisms. It would be wise to consider these things before buying the product.
What We Like
  • Six-stage filtration system for more efficient removal of water impurities
  • NSF 372 certification guarantees lead-free construction
  • NSF 42 certification assures elimination of chlorine and other contaminants
  • Ingenious design for effortless installation
  • 320-gallon filter lifespan for better economy
What We Don’t Like
  • Not recommended for hot water systems
  • Not ideal for filtering microorganisms

5. Culligan FM-15A Advanced Faucet Mount Filter

The Culligan FM-15A Advanced Faucet Mount Filter is one of the top-rated NSF-certified devices that will never fail homeowners in ensuring great-tasting and safe drinking water for the whole family.

Homeowners would be surprised to experience a delightful change in their drinking habits. Gone is the uncanny chlorine taste that can make beverages less than appealing. Brushing the teeth should also be more pleasant without the odd smell of chloramine.

Particulates should never concern families with this water filter guarding their faucets. These particulates include sediments, sand, rust, dirt, and other solid particles with a diameter of 0.5 microns or bigger.

Families do not have to worry about lead, lindane, azine, and other substances of this size. Entamoeba, Giardia, Toxoplasma, and Cryptosporidium cysts are also goners. Households will also notice reduced tannins, organics, and VOCs in their water.

The International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) tested and validated these claims against NSF standards 42 and 53.

I am glad this water filter can screen 200 gallons of water before requiring a replacement. Families have two months to save money for their subsequent filter change.

Installation is never a concern, either. Homeowners can screw the aerator adaptor into their faucets, and they can start drinking fresh and clean water straight from the tap.

Its ultra-modern look can add pizzazz to any kitchen, while its price is a steal.

My only concern about this NSF/ANSI certified water filter is its low flow rate of only 0.5 gallon per minute (GPM). The average faucet flow rate is 1.0 to 2.2 GPM, making this filtration device unsuitable for households with already slow water flows.

Simple yet functional – that is the promise of this NSF-certified faucet filter. Getting one today makes perfect sense.

What We Like
  • Removes many contaminants and their smell with 0.5-micron filter
  • IAPMO-tested according to NSF53 and NSF42 standards
  • Two-month or 200-gallon filter lifespan
  • Effortless installation with aerator adaptor
  • Great value, awesome look
What We Don’t Like
  • Slow flow rate

6. Waterdrop NSF Certified Water Filter

If you are the type of person who only wants filtered water served during meals, the Waterdrop Lucid is for you. This NSF certified gravity water filter pitcher offers modern families the chance to enjoy safe and great-tasting water right at the dinner table.

While I think it does not look that awesome, its filtration capabilities are something else. This water pitcher features an ingenious filtration system that effectively removes lead, chlorine, and other unwanted substances from your drinking water. It also reduces fluoride, aluminum, arsenic, and mercury levels.

Every glass you fill with this pitcher tastes great, making mealtimes more enjoyable.

I like its filter design because it does not get in the way of enjoying pleasant-tasting water. Most water filter pitchers take time to complete the filtration process. This unit can give you ten cups of refreshing water in 60 seconds.

Its filter lifespan is also commendable because it lasts a full 200 gallons. Imagine consuming only a gallon of drinking water every day. You could be using the water pitcher’s filter for the next 200 days.

You will never have to guess the timing of filter replacement, too. This unit already features a gravity induction indicator, telling you when it is time for a filter replacement.

The Waterdrop Lucid Water Filter Pitcher is not perfect. Still, it does an excellent job delivering safe and great-tasting water to the dinner table. It is compact enough to fit in your refrigerator and efficient enough to remove common water impurities.

You may have to consider another filtration system if you are after TDS elimination. This product does not have reverse osmosis technology to get rid of TDS. Moreover, heavy water-drinking families may find the unit’s ten-cup capacity wanting.
What We Like
  • NSF 372 certification for improved safety against lead and other toxic chemicals
  • NSF 42 certification for the optimal removal of chlorine and other contaminants
  • Long-lasting filter lifespan
  • Gravity induction indicator for effortless filter lifespan monitoring
  • Quick to fill the 10-cup water pitcher
What We Don’t Like
  • Not ideal for eliminating TDS
  • Some families may find its capacity as too small

7. Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher

The Epic Pure is one of the most stylish NSF-53 certified water filter pitchers you can ever buy. It is so elegant that you can serve great-tasting and safe drinking water to your guests.

Style is not the only thing going on with this water pitcher. It also has one of the most effective water contaminant removal systems on the market. This filter pitcher can remove 98.4% chlorine, 97.88% fluoride, and 99.94% lead. You can also reduce PFCs by as much as 99.6% and chromium-6 by up to 99.2%.

These figures may seem unbelievable to ordinary folks. I can assure you that the figures are as accurate and valid as any other product with the NSF seal. The secret to this water pitcher’s outstanding filtration is its solid carbon block technology, allowing it to obtain NSF 42, NSF, 401, NSF 53, and NSF P473 certifications.

Just when you thought this water pitcher could not get any better, you will be impressed with its water delivery design. There is a pour dam that collects unfiltered water every time you pour water into a glass. It ensures only filtered water flows into your glass.

The Epic Pure is one of the most beautiful and efficient portable water filtration systems you can buy. It is one of the few water filter pitchers with more than two NSF certifications, making this water filter pitcher an essential part of your family’s safe drinking water needs.

I like this pitcher’s lifespan monitor. While it is non-removable, it remains a handy tool for checking filter lifespan. Unfortunately, I have seen products with a longer filter lifespan than this product’s 150-gallon rating.

Some people may also find fault in the water filter pitcher’s inability to address total dissolved solids.

What We Like
  • Multiple NSF certifications
  • Solid carbon block filter for more effective water impurities removal
  • Integrated unfiltered water reservoir for more efficient pouring
  • Built-in filter lifespan monitor for more efficient filter replacement
  • Stylish and elegant design to complement modern kitchen aesthetics
What We Don’t Like
  • Modest filter lifespan
  • No effect on TDS

8. AQUACREST Replacement Water Filter

Enjoying cold drinking water straight from the fridge is so much easier if you have one of the top-quality NSF approved water filters in your refrigerator. You will never fret about lead, chlorine, or any of the common water impurities. Just plain, good ‘ol, refreshing drinking water.

Thankfully, you do not have to limit yourself to OEM refrigerator water filters. You can purchase the AQUACREST DA29-00020B and never worry about a thing. This product has enough NSF certifications to put your mind at ease.

This replacement filter has an NSF 372 certification, signifying the absence of lead, arsenic, mercury, and other toxic chemicals in its design. It also has NSF 42 certification that gives you a sense of security about chlorine in your water. Never again will you have to suffer the nasty smell and uncanny taste of chlorinated drinking water.

I like this filter’s composition. Unlike other brands, this replacement water filter features only food-safe materials. You do not want any unwanted substance in your drinking water because it can undermine your health and safety.

Some products feature an advanced filter replacement tracking system. This device also has a mechanism, although simpler. You get a sticker where you write the device’s date of installation. After about six months of average use, you should replace the filter.

The AQUA CREST DA29-00020B is the right choice for owners of Samsung refrigerators with built-in water dispensers. Its NSF seal of approval can calm anxious nerves about this product’s ability to remove common water contaminants.

It is essential to recognize this filter’s limitations. For starters, it will not reduce total dissolved solids. The device only features carbon block technology, instead of a reverse osmosis system. Another concern for modern families is its refrigerator compatibility. This product only works with select Samsung models.
What We Like
  • NSF 372 certification for lead and toxic chemical-free construction
  • NSF 42 certification for optimum chlorine, taste, and odor removal
  • 300-gallon filter capacity for improved economy
  • Installation date sticker for replacement filter tracking
  • 100% premium-quality, food-safe materials for improved safety
What We Don’t Like
  • Limited refrigerator compatibility
  • Not ideal for 100% TDS reduction

9. Express Water NSF Certified RO System

Most families are not content with the removal of common water contaminants. People also want to get rid of all dissolved solids from their water to enjoy the benefits of pure water. If you are like these people, there is one product I can recommend – the Express Water RO5DX.

This reverse osmosis water filtration system adheres to the strictest NSF water filter standards for such designs.

Independent laboratory testing confirms the product’s ability to remove up to 99.99 percent of all dissolved solids. You can say goodbye to chlorine, nitrates, arsenic, fluoride, lead, and more. This product can also remove some bacterial species.

You will love the price of this reverse osmosis system. Most RO products are quite expensive. You will never go bankrupt with this water filtration system serving your family. It is one of the most sensible buying decisions you will ever make.

I like the pre-assembled components that simplify installation. Never again will you call a plumber to install this device under your kitchen sink. You will never worry about leaks because the system already has a built-in leak detector that automatically shuts off the system.

Unfortunately, this product is not a complete system. I have seen other RO systems with integrated alkalinizing technology to help improve water pH. Moreover, this water filter does not remove viruses and smaller microorganisms other than bacteria.

The Express Water RO5DX is one of the most exciting NSF-certified reverse osmosis water filtration systems available today. While incapable of removing all water impurities, you will still feel more confident about its ability to deliver 100% pure water.

This water filtration system offers maximum customizability. You can add an alkalinizing filter, a water softener, and even a UV filter for a more robust home water treatment capability. You do not see this attribute quite often.
What We Like
  • NSF certification for excellent removal of all dissolved solids from water
  • Integrated emergency stop leak detector for more efficient operation
  • Professional installation not required
  • Expandable design for improved water treatment capability
  • More affordable than similar RO systems
What We Don’t Like
  • Not recommended for killing viruses
  • No alkalinizing capabilities

10. ICEPURE PRO NSF Certified Water Filter

Many modern households have cold water-dispensing refrigerators. If your family has a similar refrigerator, you might want to replace your OEM filter with the ICEPURE PRO UKF8001.

This NSF 53-certified refrigerator water filter saves you up to 70 percent in filter replacements, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious families.

You will love this filter’s universal design like I do. It works with many leading refrigerator brands and replaces OEM refrigerator filters, such as Whirlpool, Puriclean, EveryDrop, and Maytag.

Unlike other replacement water filters, this product has three NSF certifications – NSF 53, NSF 42, and NSF 372. These certifications assure you of substantial water contaminant reductions.

For example, you can reduce lead by as much as 99.6% and mercury by 90.2%. It can also reduce chlorine levels by 99%, including the odd taste and smell that chlorine brings.

I find the unit’s filtration capabilities quite intriguing because it only has a three-stage filtration system. However, its NSF certification easily erases any doubts about this product’s performance and quality design.

The water quality it produces is more than enough to dispel any doubts about its three-stage filtration mechanism. Water never tastes better than with this filter in your refrigerator water dispensing system.

For its versatility and exceptional chlorine, lead, and mercury reduction capabilities, the ICEPURE PRO UKF8001 refrigerator water filter is perfect for the modern household. You will never cry over the money spent on acquiring and installing this baby into your water-dispensing refrigerator.

Suppose you are looking for a filtration system that can reduce total dissolved solids. In that case, you might want to consider a reverse osmosis system. This water filtration system cannot remove all dissolved solids, although it can lower them slightly. Keep in mind that this product does not kill microorganisms. You may want a UV filter for that.
What We Like
  • Multiple-refrigerator and refrigerator filter compatibility optimum versatility
  • Three NSF certifications for greater peace of mind
  • Three-stage filtration mechanism for efficient contaminant removal
  • Improves water quality for more enjoyable drinks
  • More affordable than OEM refrigerator filters
What We Don’t Like
  • Not recommended for TDS reduction
  • Not ideal for microorganism neutralization

11. FilterLogic NSF Certified Pitcher Water Filter

Replacing your water pitcher’s filter element is more cost-effective with this FilterLogic product. Its design ensures optimum compatibility with major water filter pitcher brands, including Brita, Mavea, and more.

As one of the best NSF certified water filter lead removal units, this product provides the safest drinking water for your family.

Not only is it efficient in lead removal. It is also excellent in eliminating mercury, arsenic, and other toxic chemicals. You can also trust this filter cartridge to rid your water of rust, sediments, and other particles.

The secret to this product’s contaminant-removal capabilities is its three-stage filtration system. True, other systems have five or six filtration stages. However, this product’s unique design makes it more efficient in that it can provide the same level of contaminant-removal of other systems using only three stages.

Its NSF 42 and NSF 372 certifications are your guarantees for superb water filtration performance. Never again will you or your family worry about undermining your health just because of unsafe drinking water.

I like this product’s upgraded cap design because it simplifies the installation process. The design also ensures optimal water flow, allowing you to enjoy your water in seconds.

Perhaps what will appeal to most people is this water filter’s affordability. Compared to OEM products, this replacement filter cartridge can save you a few dollars per unit.

FilterLogic’s NSF-certified replacement water filter is the right choice for families who have water filter pitchers. Its remarkable contaminant-removal capabilities, affordability, and ease of installation contribute to making it a wise buy.

It would be most suitable not to expect TDS reduction with this product. You need an RO system if that is your main objective. Moreover, it would also be pointless to assume that this water filter can remove bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.
What We Like
  • Dual NSF certification for enhanced product quality and performance
  • Three-stage system for optimum water filtration
  • Multi-pitcher compatibility for optimum versatility
  • Upgraded cap design for ease of installation
  • More affordable than OEM water pitcher filters
What We Don’t Like
  • No TDS reduction capability
  • Not ideal for microorganism removal

What Does NSF Mean On Water Filter


The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International develops and provides guidelines and standards for manufacturers to observe in the making of their respective consumer products. The organization’s principal goal is to ensure the optimum public health and environmental safety.

When you apply this mandate to water filters, you essentially guarantee the reduction of harmful substances in your water. The organization has different standards for water treatment systems, including water filters.

For example, an NSF 401 certified water filter means the device can reduce at least one of the 15 emerging water contaminants, including unregulated chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

The most common NSF certifications you may see for water filters are NSF 42, NSF 53, and NSF 372. These standards correspond to the water filter’s ability to reduce chlorine taste and odor, disease-causing water contaminants, and lead.

What Are The Different Types Of NSF Certified Water Filters

Looking at an NSF water filter listing of certified filters, you can choose from two general types of water filters for your home.

Point-of-Use Water Filters

These NSF-certified filters for domestic water systems remove impurities at the point where you use water. For example, you can install a POU filter in your kitchen faucet if this is the only water fixture you want to filter.

  • Personal water bottles – Perfect for travelers, these filtration systems are portable because of their compact and lightweight design.
  • Water pitchers, pour-through, and dispensers – These filtration systems are a part of a conventional water pitcher design. It filters water in a chamber before collecting it in a separate chamber for drinking.
  • Faucet-mounted filters – Ideal for small households, these water filters mount directly to a faucet’s spout. Water moves through the filter chamber before going out through a separate spout. You may also know this water filter type as an NSF-certified countertop water filter.
  • Under-the-sink systems – Recommended for medium to large households, these systems connect to the waterline that goes under your kitchen sink. Hence, the name.
  • Refrigerator filters – Modern refrigerators make ice on their own and provide cold drinking water for everyone. These ones require a filter to remove water impurities, ensuring crystal-clear ice and safe drinking water.

Whole-House Water Filters

This NSF-certified whole house water filter connects to your house’s main water line. Its connection’s location ensures filtered water throughout the house. There is no need for individual POU water filters. The NSF lists three subtypes of whole-house filters.

  • UV treatment systems – These water treatment products feature UV light for killing or inactivating harmful microorganisms, such as viruses, fungi, protozoa, bacteria, and more.
  • Whole-house chlorine filters – As the name implies, these filters focus more on removing chloride ions, including the characteristic chlorine taste and odor. Some products may also provide additional filtration capabilities.
  • Water softeners – These systems replace heavy minerals that harden water with either sodium or potassium chloride ions. It would be best not to confuse water softeners with water conditioners. The latter does not affect water hardness levels, although they do provide the same benefits.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using NSF Certified Water Filters


The pros and cons of NSF-certified water filtration systems vary across different types of filters. One advantage they share is safer water. Referring to NSF’s mandate, you will feel more secure about your drinking water’s safety. Lead, chlorine, arsenic, mercury, and other harmful substances will never be serious issues in your water.

The following are the main advantages of using NSF-certified systems.

  • NSF-certified water filtration systems can remove harmful chemicals, including lead, arsenic, mercury, pharmaceutical agents, pesticides, microorganisms, and more. Their water contaminant-removal capabilities depend on the filter type.
  • The NSF also tests and certifies product designs. You can bet that a water filter with an NSF certification will have excellent performance, robust construction, and safe materials for its construction.
  • The certification also guarantees improved water safety, regardless of its use.

The following constitutes an NSF-approved water filtration system’s drawbacks.

  • These products are often more expensive than non-NSF-certified water filtration systems. Companies have the right to put a premium on their products because of their reliable quality.
  • Installation can be tricky, depending on the filter type you choose. If this is a concern, a professional plumber can be helpful.
  • There is no one-filter-does-it-all product. There will always be water contaminants a particular system cannot remove. You may have to purchase additional filters if you want 100% contaminant-free water.

Buying Guide

Buying an NSF-certified filter for your water consumption is not difficult, as long as you know what to consider. In this section, we shall simplify the shopping process so you can bring home the best possible water filtration system for your family.

Always Check NSF Certification

Only the top-tier products meet NSF’s stringent requirements before certification. You should know that a product may put “NSF” on its label but does not have the actual certification.

Some companies test and evaluate their water filters using NSF standards. Most will employ a third-party laboratory to conduct the tests using the same standards. These products are not NSF-certified.

The only way you can have NSF water filter listing certification is if NSF tests evaluate, and certifies the product itself.

You can perform an NSF water filter certification lookup using the organization’s built-in search tool. All you need is to enter the filter’s brand name, and the organization’s search engine will return the results. If there are no results, the product you are looking for is not NSF-certified.

Decide on the Water Filter Type You Want to Buy

According to NSF, we already discussed the different types of water filtration systems. What you may have to understand is that there can be other subtypes of filters under each category.

For example, a whole-house system can have a reverse osmosis water filtration system in addition to an activated carbon filter unit.

You might also want to consider filter replacements. Filters typically last between six months and ten years, depending on the filter model and design. Instead of replacing the whole unit, you will only need to purchase a replacement filter.

For example, suppose you have a Big Berkey water filter system. This product has a filter element that lasts up to eight years, after which you will need to replace the filter element.

Consider the Water Contaminant You Want to be Removed

It is essential to understand that water filters can remove all types of contaminants or impurities. Most products will only reduce chlorine, arsenic, mercury, lead, and other common water contaminants.

A few filters can remove bacteria and fungi but not viruses. Advanced filtration systems can lower pharmaceutical and pesticide levels in the water.

The majority of water filtration systems do not reduce total dissolved solids or TDS. A better option for this is a reverse osmosis water filter.

You may also have to check your water’s hardness level. Well water typically has a higher concentration of dissolved minerals than water from municipal utilities. If you need to address water hardness, you may want a water filter with water-softening capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Brita filters NSF certified?

Not all Brita filters have NSF certification. Only select products have this guarantee of quality and filter performance. Examples of Brita filters that have NSF certification include the Brita On Tap, P300 Series, CLARITY Taste series 50 and 100, MyPure P1 and A1, AquaAroma Crema, and Intenza.

The NSF has a useful tool for determining which products have the appropriate certification. It should help you decide which ones to buy for better peace of mind.

Is LifeStraw NSF certified?

No, LifeStraw is not NSF-certified. However, it tests its products using NSF standards, including NSF P231, NSF 42, and NSF 53. You can also check the NSF website for the complete list of NSF-certified filters.

Are expensive NSF-certified water filters the best?

No, not all expensive NSF-certified water filtration systems for home applications are the best. There are inexpensive models that provide peace of mind because they meet strict water sanitation standards.

A good example is the Culligan FM-15A one can buy for about $30. It might only be a simple faucet filter, but this Culligan product is enough to screen 200 gallons of common water impurities with a matching NSF certification to validate its claims.

The current list of NSF-approved water filters shows thousands of products across tens of manufacturers with varying NSF ratings. There are faucet filters, reverse osmosis (RO) systems, inline filters, refrigerator filters, under-sink filters, and whole-house filtration technologies.

Most water filter brands are American-owned corporations but with overseas manufacturing facilities, particularly in China. Hence, these water filters are often less expensive than brands manufactured in the US mainland because of disparities in labor practices.

What are the NSF water filter standards?

The National Sanitation Foundation has ten NSF filter standards, as follows.

  • NSF 42: Chlorine, taste, and odor removal capabilities.
  • NSF 44: Also called NSF water softener because it focuses on ion-exchange technology to replace calcium and magnesium with potassium or sodium.
  • NSF 53: Carbon-based water filters and other filtration systems that filter or adsorb disease-causing contaminants, such as arsenic, mercury, PFAS, radon, asbestos, lead, cysts, and others. These contaminants that produce “health effects” underscore the difference between NSF 42 vs 53.
  • NSF 55: Water treatment systems that use ultraviolet (UV) technology to kill or inactivate microorganisms in the water.
  • NSF 58: RO systems with pre- and or post-filters.
  • NSF 177: Chlorine-reducing shower filters.
  • NSF 244: For public or private water utilities, underscoring the treatment’s effectiveness in removing cysts, bacteria, and viruses.
  • NSF 401: Point-of-entry (PoE) and point-of-use (PoU) water treatment systems that reduce emerging water contaminants, including unregulated chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
  • NSF P231: Water purifiers that remove microbiological contaminants.
  • NSF P473: Covers RO systems and PoU carbon filters capable of reducing PFOS and PFOA without adding harmful chemicals to the filtered water. The devices must first gain NSF 53 and 58 certifications.

WQA vs NSF certification: what’s the difference?

The principal difference between a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and Water Quality Association (WQA) certification is their focus.

NSF standards center on the effectiveness of water filtration technologies (i.e., RO, ultra-filtration, microfiltration, carbon filtration, and ion exchange) and whether they remove target contaminants per guidelines.

For example, an NSF 42 filter should make the water pleasant to drink by eliminating chlorine, chloramine, and their associated aesthetic effects (i.e., taste and odor).

Moreover, NSF-certified water filters undergo rigorous third-party laboratory testing and validation, feature durable materials, and consist of non-toxin-leaching BPA-free plastics.

Meanwhile, WQA certification emphasizes the accuracy of product labels and packaging claims. Hence, you can expect 95% lead removal if the water filter claims it does that and has a WQA seal to prove it. WQA also certifies whether the raw materials for the water filter are durable and safe.


The best NSF certified water filter should fit you and your family’s needs. Whether removing select contaminants or neutralizing harmful microorganisms and toxic chemicals, you can bet that your choice can deliver on its promise.

There is nothing more to consider as long as you ascertain the authenticity of the product’s NSF certification. Such is the guarantee that an NSF seal provides.

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