How do Water Filter Jugs Work?


How do Water Filter Jugs Work?

Water filter jugs focus solely on the removal of chlorine using activated carbon. Although removing chlorine from water can improve the taste of your drinking water, the activated carbon method is unsuitable for removing other contaminants that some other home water filter systems are capable of removing.

As activated carbon is prone to limescale and bacteria build-up, You should replace water filters frequently.

You can fill your water filter jugs with tap water allowing the water to slowly pass through the filter inside, leaving filtered water in the bottom, ready for drinking. Although filter jugs are convenient and relatively inexpensive, they do have limitations relating to longevity and performance.

The capacity of a water filter jug is limited. The process of filling up a water filter jug can take time, as the water needs to pass through the filter before it is ready for consumption. For families who drink the recommended daily intake of water, use filtered water for hot drinks, cooking, and other uses around the house, a water filter jug may require constant refilling.

Do Water Filter Jugs Really Work?

PUR pitcher filter

If you take a look at most water filters’ packaging, you’ll likely find an NSF seal with a line that says that the product is tested to reduce the claims specified on the Performance Data Sheet. Even if a filter only treats three aesthetic compounds and one hazardous compound, it’ll receive the same certification as a filter that treats every contaminant.

If you’re trying to avoid contaminants like lead, make sure you read the seal quite carefully. For instance, on Brita’s website, only one of its filtration systems removes information, and it’s not the kind sitting in your fridge right now.

Most contaminants you probably aren’t aware of because filters only describe what they filter, not what they don’t. It’s possible that if your tap water does require filtering, you’ll need something that catches far more than just zinc and chlorine.

Thanks to the handy EPA water reports, you can easily find out what’s lurking in your tap water. Once you’ve seen the information, finding the right filter is pretty straightforward. If your water is full of legionella, bromate, and barium, make sure those are listed contaminants on the water filter.

You can always enter the filter’s model number on the NSF site to double-check; if your water’s contaminants don’t appear, then put that pitcher back down, and move on to the next one.

Do Brita Filters Actually do Anything?

Brita water filter

According to Brita, standard filters work like a sieve, using carbon to lower mercury content and chlorine’s taste and smell. There is also an ion-exchange resin to filter zinc, copper, and cadmium.

They vary in design depending on their purpose, and there is currently no single type that can filter out everything.

The taste of tap water varies slightly among water treatment systems and depends on the water’s source. This variety occurs because the concentration of components in the water differs from sample to sample. Brita provides different filtration options that can change how water tastes.

Filters have pores that control which components get through the filter. These pores come in different sizes, which may affect the filtration results. Brita state that filtered substances include:

  • lead
  • benzene
  • asbestos
  • cadmium
  • zinc
  • chlorine
  • copper
  • mercury

How Long Does a Filter Last in a Water Jug?

Brita pitcher filters

It’s essential to change your filter regularly for optimal performance. If you have hard water, you may need to change filters more often. Use your cling calendar, or activate your electronic filter change indicator when you install a new filter. It helps to keep track of your water usage. Filter replacement depends on filter and product type.

Water filter jugs usually are recommended to be changed after filtering 40 gallons of water or after two months of use. However, different filters require different replacement time and amount of water. For instance, you should replace the filters in these Brita pitchers after;

  • Brita® Standard (White) Filter: Every 40 gallons (about two months)
  • Brita® Longlast® (Blue) Filter: Every 120 gallons (about six months)
  • Brita® Stream® (Gray) Filter: Every 40 gallons (about two months)

Therefore, it is best to keep your great-tasting filtered water flowing by replacing every 40 gallons or approximately every two months. If you use hard water, you should replace the filter more frequently.

How do You Use a Water Filter Jug?

Parts of a water filter jug

Water filter jug filters out certain elements, such as chlorine and copper, that don’t belong in your drinking water. You might be concerned about what’s in your tap water, and you want to ensure that you’re ingesting the purest water possible. Therefore, filling and using a water pitcher such as a Brita pitcher might be a step in the right direction.

If it is your first time using your water filter jug, here are the steps you can follow;

1. Take the pitcher out of its packaging

When you purchase your pitcher, take it out of the box. Discard the plastic wrap.

2. Wash and dry the pitcher.

With all packaging discarded, take apart the pitcher and place the different parts in a sink. Use a mild dish detergent, a sponge, and warm water to wash the parts. Then, dry them with a clean hand towel.

3. Rinse the filter under cold water for 15 seconds

Take the filter that came with your pitcher out of its packaging. Then, hold it under cold running water for at least 15 seconds. At this point, the filter is ready to be used.

4. Insert the filter into the pitcher.

Take the lid off of your pitcher and hold your filter by its top. Line up the groove in the filter with the notch in the hole located at the reservoir’s bottom. Slide the filter down into the hole.

5. Fill the reservoir with water

With the lid still off and the filter in place, fill the reservoir with tap water. The water will slowly filter through and fill the bottom of the pitcher. At this point, your water will be ready to drink.

To fill the pitcher, you may need to fill the reservoir more than once. As soon as you drink all the water in the jug, make sure to refill by running it under tap water.

How do You Replace Your Water Filters?

Replacement filters

Due to the contaminants in your tap water, the filter in your pitcher needs replacing for better-tasting water free from disease-causing organisms. Let’s delve into the steps you should follow to replace your filter correctly.

1. Take off the lid and pull out the old filter

When it’s time to replace your filter, you first need to take the old one out. Please take off the pitcher lid and place it aside. Then reach into the reservoir, grab the filter by its top handle, and pull it out. Discard the old filter.

2. Rinse the new filter for 15 seconds

Take your new filter out of any packaging that it came in. Hold your new filter by its top handle underneath running water for at least 15 seconds.

3. Insert the new filter

Continue holding the new filter by its top handle while you match the notch on the pitcher with the filter’s groove. Then, slide the filter down into place.

4. Fill the reservoir will cold tap water

Once the new filter is securely in place, fill the reservoir to the top with cold tap water. Your pitcher will then be ready to use again.

5. Replace Standard or Stream Brita filters every two months

If you’re using the white-coloured Standard Brita filter or the grey-coloured Stream Brita filter, it’ll need switching out after you’ve filtered 40 gallons (150 l) of water through your pitcher. It should take about two months.

6. Switch out Longlast Brita filters every six months

If you have the blue-coloured Longlast Brita filter, you can use your filter for a longer time before it needs replacing. This type of filter can filter 120 gallons (450 l) of water, which means it typically lasts about six months.

7. Change your Brita Smart Pitcher’s filter when an arrow is displayed

If you have a Smart Pitcher, the electronic indicator will let you know when to replace the filter by displaying a flashing arrow at the top. After you’ve changed the filter, reset the screen by holding down the start button for 5-10 seconds and letting go once you see four flashing bars. If you have a hard time holding down the start button, try using a capped ballpoint pen.

8. Put in a new filter when the current one is filtering slowly

If you aren’t sure if you need to switch out your filter, pay attention to how long it takes to filter the water.

If you notice that the filtering process takes longer than it used to, it may be time to replace your filter.

What to Consider when Buying a Water Filter Jug

Buying a water filter jug for your home is a choice you can make after serious considerations. Therefore, you can make sure you have tested your water for contaminants and researched the types to consider.

1. Contaminants Present in Your Tap Water

Most pitcher filters are designed to improve only the aesthetic aspects of drinking water, such as taste and smell. Among these, it’s good to find one with an NSF/ANSI 42 certification, which not every pitcher is.

In case you’re looking to get rid of certain harmful pollutants such as heavy metals, make sure the filter is certified to the NSF/ANSI 53 standard. You may want to focus on larger, more advanced filtration systems if your home water has serious contaminants.

2. The Life-span of the Water Filters

It depends on the level of contamination and the amount of water you put through it per day. The manufacturer usually estimates it in normal conditions such as tap water.

It is, therefore, best to choose a filter that can last between two and six months. Avoid using a filter for longer than six months, even if the manufacturer claims you can do so. Within that time, moss and bacteria tend to grow inside your filter and will begin to contaminate the water.

Ideally, it’s good to find a filter with an indicator that tells you when a replacement is needed.

3. The Jug Material

Most filter jugs have a plastic body, making them affordable and lightweight. Note that not all plastics are created equal.

Low quality plastics can be a health hazard in and of themselves, as they may leach chemicals into the water that interfere with your hormone levels. It is recommended to use food-grade plastics and bisphenol-A-free (BPA-free) materials. They may not be 100% safe but are still a big step up.

4. The Jug Size

If you are providing drinking water for more than just yourself, always check how much water the pitcher can filter at a time. A larger capacity means you don’t have to repeatedly refill the jug and wait for the filter to do its thing.

While you can still get enough water for three people using a five-cup jug if you’re diligent, a ten-cup one will save you more time and hustle. A few minutes may not sound like much, but it can feel like forever if you have to stand next to the countertop waiting for it.

If refilling the pitcher at all sounds too inconvenient, an under-sink water filter may be a better idea.

5. Ease of Use and Cleaning

Look for a design that’s sturdy in all its features. The jug, lid, handle, reservoirs, and filter should all fit together tightly, preventing leakage. Also, the filter should be easy to detach when the time comes to replacing it.

All pitchers have a lid, but only some have an auto-open top, a feature that comes in handy when you refill. The pitcher will need cleaning about once a week to prevent the growth of algae, bacteria, and moss inside. These contaminants cause a vast risk o your health.

Reasons to Have a Water Purifier Pitcher

Minerals, chemicals, and disease-causing organisms found in your tap water can pose a huge risk to your health. Therefore, you should find ways to purify and filter your water and understand how the water filters work. The following are some important reasons why you should try a filter jug;

1. Water Aesthetics

Most filter jugs are based around a carbon filter. Some go further with multi-stage processes featuring stones, ceramic pellets, an ion-exchange resin, and other filtration materials. These are all useful in removing the smell of chlorine, sulfur, iron, and odours caused by organic contaminants.

2. The Ability to Remove Harmful Contaminants

Your tap water is not always safe straight out of the faucet. Some pitchers come with ion-exchange resins and other media that can reduce the levels of certain heavy metals, such as; lead, chromium, copper, and others.

It is not recommended to rely on even the best water filter pitchers for serious water problems. However, they can be useful as an extra line of defence and other filtration systems for drinking water.

3. Its Convenience

Water filter pitchers are typically small, countertop friendly, and easy to carry around. They take mere minutes to assemble, require minimal maintenance and are not attached to the plumbing.

That makes them very easy to introduce into rented apartments, offices, and college dorms. Those are places where the installation of a whole filtration system would be too much headache.

4. Eco-friendliness

Since they can make tap water safer and better tasting, filter pitchers can reduce your need for bottled water. A pitcher can take the place of thousands of water bottles in its lifetime, thus reducing pollution.

5. Its Affordability

At under a hundred dollars each, and with no installation fees, filter pitchers are significantly cheaper than countertop or under-sink filters.

Also, you won’t have to spend a fortune on maintenance since the assembly, cleaning, and replacement are all DIY-friendly.

Some of the Best Water Filter Pitchers

A variety of these products is wide in the recent market. Due to the rise in water pollution, water purifiers have ranked at the top of consumers lists. Here are some of the best water filter pitchers on the shelves;

1. Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher

Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher

With a filter that’s certified to exceed NSF standards 42 and 53, and has a 150-gallon capacity, this eight-cup Aquagear pitcher is suitable for you.


  • Certified against NSF 42 and 53 standards
  • Long filter life
  • Sturdy
  • BPA-free material
  • Lifetime warranty


  • High price tag
  • No filter indicator

2. Brita 42629 Slim Water Filter Pitcher

Brita 42629 Slim Water Filter Pitcher


  • NSF-certified
  • Small— fits inside fridge
  • BPA-free
  • Simple, easy to clean design
  • Affordable


  • No filter life indicator

3. ZeroWater ZP-010

ZeroWater ZP-010


  • NSF-certified to remove lead, chromium
  • Reduces TDS
  • TDS meter included
  • BPA-free material
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable


  • Water may taste acidic

4. PUR 18-Cup Dispenser with Filter

PUR 18-Cup Dispenser with Filter


  • BPA free
  • Improves water taste and smell
  • Large capacity
  • Convenient tap
  • Slim design fits in the fridge
  • Affordable


  • May leak

5. pH Restore Alkaline Water Pitcher

pH Restore Alkaline Water Pitcher


  • BPA free, SGS Certified
  • NSF-certified materials
  • Multi-stage filter for clean alkaline water
  • Can combine with separate membrane to enhance results
  • Smart lid
  • Filter life indicator


  • High price tag
  • Not NSF-certified as a complete filter system

What are the Different Types of Water Filter Pitcher Brands?

For the best customer experience, different manufacturers have come up with the same product, which is different in several ways. Therefore, brands have emerged that produce water filter pitchers.

Let’s delve in;

1. Brita

Brita is a popular brand needing no introduction. They have an appealing design that is suitable for those who value looks. They have several pitchers with the smallest unit holding about five glasses and the largest holding up to 10 glasses.

The smaller designs are slick and can fit in refrigerator doors and make them portable and easy to refill.

Equipped with ion exchange and activated carbon to remove impurities from water, their efficiency is removing chlorine and metallic elements like lead from water.

2. Pur

The brand is respected for its efficiency in purifying water. It features a 2-stage filtration system that can clean out about 99% of pharmaceutical residues, 99.9% of bacteria and 97% of other contaminants like aluminium, lead, and mercury. Most pitchers have a LED light that flashes when the filter needs changing.

3. Clear2o

They have a compact design and can fit in most refrigerators. Clear2o pitchers are said to be the best in cleaning chlorine taste from water. They also remove other impurities like lead.

They work pretty fast compared to other pitchers. They come with a hosepipe that allows them to fill up much quicker.


They boast of having both a compact design and the ability to store up to 23 glasses of water. It means that they can easily fit in the refrigerator. They purify water through a 5-stage system, making them some of the most effective Water filter pitcher brands.

The first and second stage is equipped with ion exchange and carbon filter to remove harmful metals, chlorine taste, and other organic impurities. The last three stages remove all other remaining contaminants.

5. Mavea

It has a small design and comes in many different colours. They have a filter change indicator although, for some, it’s digital and shows the quality of water, usage time, amongst other things.

Their ability to prevent built up of limescale puts them far above other brands. Limescale build-up can shorten the lifespan of your filter.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which water filter pitcher removes the most contaminants?

The Clearly Filtered and PUR pitchers are close seconds for lead claims. However, the Brita has the highest overall per cent reduction at both 6.5 and 8.5 pH levels. The Brita is also NSF-certified to standard 401 for emerging contaminants, unlike many other NSF-certified pitchers.

2. Is Zero water filter better than Brita?

The Brita earns a Very Good rating for flavour and odour reduction, meaning it filters out all smells but may leave minimal off-tastes. The ZeroWater pitcher receives only a Good rating; it gets rid of odours but not the metallic taste. When it comes to flavour and odour reduction, Brita comes out on top.

3. Are faucet filters better than pitchers?

A faucet filter generally has a slightly better filter than a pitcher filter. The filter inside a faucet mount has a longer life, can remove more contaminants, and has a few more features. This gives you healthier, cleaner tasting water than a pitcher filter.

4. Is Pur or Brita faucet filter better?

Both of them filter the most harmful contaminants from your water, such as lead, chlorine, and copper. But in the end, the PUR filters do a slightly more thorough job of removing impurities from your water. While the Brita filters remove 60 contaminants, the PUR filters remove over 70 contaminants.

5. Can bacteria grow in water filters?

Yes, your old filter can add bacteria to your water. Researchers concluded that the filter had a biofilm growing on it, and in some cases, the bacteria colony counts in the filtered water were up to 10,000 times those in the tap water.

6. Why does my zero water smell like fish?

Why does my ZeroWater filtered water taste acidic or fishy? When the filtered water tastes acidic or fishy, the ZeroWater water filter has reached the point of exhaustion and must be replaced.

7. Does zero water need to be refrigerated?

For the most part, refrigerated water should be fine for several months. Being in a cold environment, the chlorine will not leave the water as rapidly. This keeps the water safe and drinkable, even months after being poured.

8. Is it safe to drink water from an expired filter?

An expired filter may no longer purify the water but is most likely safe to drink the water that flows through it. Chloramines in the water will not allow the growth of bacteria.

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