Want to improve the taste of your water?
Here’s what you need to know.
Even though municipalities treat water for contaminants and other harmful substances, sometimes the water coming out of the tap can smell and taste bad.
If you are also suffering from similar water issues, you need the best water filter that can efficiently remove the contaminants behind this poor-quality water.
Can water filters really improve the taste of drinking water?
Yes, water filters can really improve the taste of drinking water.
Different solids dissolved in water are responsible for its taste and smell. While their concentrations are usually regulated to ensure that homes get clean and safe water, sometimes their composition is off, which causes the water to smell or taste bad.
Although most odor or taste-causing water contaminants are not necessarily bad for your health, their presence in water has a negative impact on everyday chores like cooking, brushing your teeth, or just drinking a glass of tap water.
Water filters create a barrier that separates these contaminants from the water.
Once these particles are filtered out, you get water that not only tastes great but is also significantly high in quality.
Water filters use different filtration techniques to remove contaminants.
For example, high levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) cause the water to taste bitter. A reverse osmosis system or a ceramic filter can help resolve the issue.
Sometimes high chlorine concentration gives the water a chemical taste. A carbon filter can help remove that.
What’s In This Buying Guide
Table of Contents
This buying guide covers some of the best water filters for great-tasting water currently available on the market.
We also include a detailed shopping guide that lists the aspects to look out for when buying a filter.
Lastly, we answer some common FAQs about water filters.
Best Water Filters to Improve Water Taste
Water Filter Pitcher
12.25 x 6 x 11.63 inches
25 to 40 gallons
Removes 99.6% of total TDS
Filter Change Indicator
Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter
Water Filter Faucet Attachment
2.53 x 6.3 x 9.75 inches
100 gallons or 4 months
Filter Change Indicator
Under Sink Water Filtration System
16 x 5.25 x 17.5 inches
Up to one year
More than 1,000 contaminants
Filter Change Indicator
The ZeroWater ZP-010 10 cup Water Filter Pitcher is an affordable option that features a clean and eye-catching design, but it’s not just for aesthetic purposes only.
It is bigger than conventional models and boasts a comprehensive 5-stage filtration system that can remove up to 99.6% TDS from water. These include sodium, chlorine, potassium, and chloride salts.
The BPA-free filter is also NFS-certified to remove lead and chromium. Hence, it delivers fresh, clean, and great-tasting water.
The aspect that makes the ZP-010 truly unique is its push-and-pour spout and convenient grip handle.
Simply push the button and tip the pitcher to pour water with one hand effortlessly. It also comes with a TDS meter to keep the water quality in check.
Although the pitcher does not have a filter replacement indicator, the battery-powered TDS meter simplifies the process by accurately testing the water’s PPM. Testing the water regularly helps determine when it is time to change the filter.
Issues & Limitations
The ZP-010’s filtration speed is quite slow. That’s because, unlike its rivals, it doesn’t merely rely on a carbon filter to remove contaminants. Instead, it uses a 5-stage filtration process to provide you with great-tasting water.
The ZeroWater ZP-010 is not only affordable, but it also has the upper hand when it comes to contaminant reduction.
Other features like a push-and-pour spout, a battery-powered TDS meter, and an easy-grip handle make it worth mentioning on our list.
Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter is both efficient and convenient to use. It directly attaches to the existing sink faucet and reduces the presence of 60 contaminants to provide you fresh and good-tasting water.
It is NSF-certified to remove lead and chlorine. An extra filtration layer traps sediment and completely removes unpleasant tastes and odors from the water.
The device itself is pretty easy to install. All you have to do is remove the faucet’s aerator, insert the adapter, and tighten it to fix the system in place.
The Brita faucet allows you to choose between two spray options and also offers an easy switch between filtered and unfiltered water with the press of a button.
The filtration process has a good contaminant reduction rate. The system uses an activated carbon filter with a large surface area that traps contaminants in its pores. The filters can last for 100 gallons of water or about 4 months.
A red and green light indicator shows when you need to change the filter needs. Changing it is also effortless; you just need to release the button to easily pop the filter cartridge out of the unit. Then you can simply insert the new cartridge.
Issues & Limitations
Like many other faucet water filters, the Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter System cannot filter well water. This is because carbon filtration alone is enough to cater to the high mineral content of well water.
The Brita water filter is not suitable to use with hot water. It damages the system and causes it to lose its effectiveness.
The APEC ROES-PH75 is a 6-stage 75 GPD reverse osmosis water filtration system that includes a re-mineralizing calcium filter to improve the water taste.
It is a complete under-sink water purifying system that removes over 1,000 contaminants and provides great-tasting water by adding high-purity calcium minerals.
The ROES-PH75 features a unique 6-stage filtration system that removes up to 99% contaminants.
The first stage is a high-capacity polypropylene sediment filter that removes sediment particles, including rust and dirt.
The second and third stages are double premium extruded carbon block filters. They effectively remove odor and taste-causing molecules, including chlorine and VOCs.
The fourth stage lying in the heart of the system is the high rejection TFC reverse osmosis membrane. It traps up to 99% of total dissolution solids (TDS) from water.
The fifth stage is made up of advanced coconut shell carbon filters that remove any residual taste.
Lastly, the pH+ alkaline re-mineralizing calcium filter increases water alkalinity.
This water purification system is a popular choice because of its comprehensive filtration system and affordable price.
Its alkaline remineralization feature naturally adds the lost essential minerals into the water to further enhance its flavor.
You can check out our detailed review of the APEC ROES-PH75 Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System here.
Issues & Limitations
APEC ROES-PH75 does not have any major issues. You can expect an occasional leak here and there, and sometimes bad auto-shutoff valves cause the system to drain constantly.
But the wastewater ratio is a point of concern. Although the manufacturer claims it to have a 3:1 wastewater ratio, when water flow pressure is low, it can waste as much as 5 to 7 gallons of water for every gallon of purified water.
Why Does Filtered Water Taste Bad?
Once you install a filter, you might expect your water to taste great. However, in some cases, that might not be the case.
Here are some possible reasons for that:
Installation of a water filter is a step-by-step procedure. If you forget or decide to skip a few steps, it can affect the taste of water.
Say, for example, certain filters require you to soak the cartridge for some time before installation, and if you don’t do it, it will affect the taste of water.
Similarly, it is recommended to flush a new filter a few times. Failing to do so will leave you with bad-tasting filtered water.
Although most water filters and their cartridges have a long shelf life, they may not perform optimally if you store them in a warm area or if they are exposed to direct sunlight for a long time.
As the saying goes, a dry sponge does not pick up any water. Similarly, an old filter may require some prep before it is usable. If not prepped, it will leave behind an odd taste in your water.
All water filters are certainly not created equal. Some are designed to remove certain contaminants; others are better at eliminating odors, while RO systems are the most comprehensive and remove even essential minerals.
With RO systems, you might need to remineralize the RO water to restore essential minerals.
The point is, if the filtered water tastes the same as your tap water, your filter might not be effective against the particular contaminant causing the bad taste.
We suggest testing the water beforehand to know the contaminants you’re dealing with, so you can pick out the best water filter for great-tasting water in your home.
Problematic supply line or filter containers
One culprit for bad-tasting filtered water is dirty filter containers or the supply line bringing the water to your tap.
Certain bacteria, mold, and algae grow anywhere inside the filtration system if it is not cleaned regularly.
You should timely clean and maintain your filtration system to continue receiving great-tasting water.
Filter cartridge needs replacement
The most common reason for bad-tasting filtered water is worn-out cartridges.
When a filter becomes clogged or wears out, it starts losing its ability to clean the water; hence the water also starts tasting and smelling different.
If your water filtration system comes without a filter change indicator, look out for such changes in water quality to figure out when the cartridge needs replacing.
What Is the Best Filter for Good Tasting Water?
Reverse osmosis systems are the most effective filters for good-tasting water. They feature 4 to 7 different filtration stages, making them effective at removing up to 99% of contaminants from water.
Even the most basic variation of a RO water filtration system includes a pre-filter (usually a polypropylene sediment filter), a carbon filter, and an RO membrane.
The water first passes through the pre-filter, which captures and removes large particles such as dust, rust, and other visible contaminants.
Next comes the carbon filter that traps odor-causing molecules and other harmful organic contaminants.
Lastly, the water is forced through a fine, semi-permeable reverse osmosis (RO) membrane that prevents the smallest of particles from going across.
In the end, the water you receive is clean, odor-free, and great-tasting.
One of the biggest problems with RO systems is that they also remove many beneficial minerals from the water along with the harmful water contaminants.
However, modern RO systems are designed to add healthy minerals and nutrients back to the water.
These water purification systems are available in a versatile range, including whole-house systems, under-sink systems, and countertop options. Hence, you are free to choose the system suitable for your application.
What to look for in a Water Filter for Good Taste
Selecting the best water filter for great-tasting water becomes confusing mainly because of the various shapes and sizes available. To decide the right one for your use, here are some aspects to look out for:
Like we mentioned earlier, water filters are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
Water filter pitchers and dispensers come with a simple carbon filter to improve the taste of water.
Meanwhile, water filter faucet attachments attach to a designated faucet and treat the water as it flows through.
If you want a more comprehensive filtration system, you can get a countertop or under-sink water filtration system that purifies the water with multiple filter stages to remove different kinds of contaminants.
Similarly, portable water filters are ideal for campers and hikers to obtain fresh-tasting water.
You can also invest in a shower filter to purify water for bathing purposes.
Lastly, whole-house water filters connect to the main water supply and filter the water for home uses.
Different water filters use different filtration methods to provide great-tasting water.
The most common method is carbon filtration that uses carbon’s porous consistency to remove contaminants and absorb water.
This filtration method is effective at eliminating solvents, pesticides, and chlorine.
Sediment filters are traditional water filters that have always been used to clean water.
Reverse osmosis is another popular water filtration method. It uses a semi-permeable membrane that allows only water to pass through while trapping impurities and contaminants.
It is the most effective water purification method that can remove up to 99% of pollutants.
Ultraviolet filters push water through a chamber flooded with UV rays. These rays effectively kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites to make water safe for drinking.
Filtration systems manufactured these days use a combination of these filtration methods, creating a multi-stage filtration system.
When choosing between different options, check out the filtration methods and the number of stages. The more the stages, the cleaner your water.
While the city water treatment plant already removes many harmful chemicals, they don’t really cater to other particles that don’t make you sick but make the water taste bad.
Take chlorine, for example. It is mixed in water for purification purposes, but it causes a chemical taste in water if used in large quantities.
Before heading out to purchase a water filter for good taste, we suggest that you test the water, so you know exactly what is causing it to taste bad.
This way, you can buy a unit that is great at removing the specific impurity making your water taste bad.
Installation and maintenance
Depending upon their size and type, water filter installation ranges in complexity.
A pitcher or dispenser water filter does not require any installation, while for installing a faucet filter, you need to remove the aerator to attach a hose.
On the other hand, an under-sink or whole-house water filter has a more complex installation process.
Any DIYer with some basic plumbing knowledge can easily install a water filter. But you should still make sure you can do it yourself or ask professionals in the vicinity if they can install it for you.
Maintaining a water filter involves regular cleaning and filter replacements. Look for a unit whose cleaning and filter replacement is a simple task.
Also, look for a device with a filter change indicator so you know when it is time to replace the filter.
Also, keep an eye on the price of replacement filters to keep the maintenance costs in check.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do water filters make water taste better?
Water filters make water taste better by removing impurities that make it taste bad while leaving minerals that make the water taste good.
As impurities are removed, a more refreshing and enhanced flavor develops, which improves the sense of satisfaction after drinking.
Is there a way to fix bad-tasting filter water?
There are numerous ways to fix bad-tasting water, and almost all of them involve filtering it.
But if your filter water tastes foul, you should start by inspecting the filter for the cause.
The filter might have surpassed its service time and needs replacing. If that’s the case, changing the filter will resolve the issue.
Skipping some steps in installation can also cause the filtered water to taste foul.
Make sure you have soaked the filter for some time before installation. Also, flush the filter a few times after installation to lessen the aftertaste.