A tap water filter will ensure your tap water tastes great and is free from contaminants, using a DIY filter that you can install yourself in under 10 minutes. Tap water filters are relatively cheap and simple to install compared to 10 years ago, and more and more households choose to install a water filter on their drinking water taps to ensure the water they are drinking is clean and pure.
In this article I will look at tap water, how safe the tap water is in the UK, and the different standards and certifications that apply to tap water filters. I’ll then look at some of the best tap water filters you can buy in the UK, to suit varying budgets and needs.
This article is comprehensive, to say the least, so I do encourage you to read the information fully to ensure you make the right purchasing decision.
Below is a handy table of contents. Clicking on any of the article headers below will jump you straight to the place on this page you are interested in. I am an Amazon Associate, and earn commissions on qualifying purchases.
Table of Contents
Best Tap Water Filter UK
For your convenience, I’ve listed the top 3 tap water filters in the table below. I go through each tap water filter in great detail individually, further down the article.
What Is A Tap Water Filter?
A tap water filter is a device that purifies the water coming out of your tap.
It is designed to remove impurities and contaminants, ensuring that the water you consume is safe and healthy.
By removing the impurities and contaminants, a tap water filter will result in your water tasting much better than it would without the filter.
A tap water filter can usually be installed by yourself quickly and easily, without the need to call in professional help.
There are different types of tap water filters available on the market. Some use layered filters with activated carbon to absorb pollutants and improve taste, while others employ reverse osmosis technology to remove harmful substances like lead, bacteria, and viruses.
Using a tap water filter has 3 major benefits:
- Saves you money, as you no longer need to buy bottled water
- Reduces one time plastic usage, helping the environment
- Tastes better than unfiltered water
However, maintaining your water filter periodically will be required, because it’s important to regularly replace the filter cartridge according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure optimal performance.
A tap water filter is an effective way to improve the quality of your drinking water right from your kitchen tap.
By removing impurities and contaminants, a water filter provides a safe and convenient solution for enjoying clean and refreshing water at home, without the stress or worry that your drinking water and cooking water is possibly contaminated.
UK Tap Water Standards
You’ll be shocked to know that although tap water in the United Kingdom is clean, safe and fit for human consumption, there are in fact many chemicals and pesticides present in the water we consume.
These contaminants can get into our drinking water in a variety of ways, including treatment and manufacturing opertions, broken, leaking or corroded lead pipes, agricultural operations (farms using fertilisers and pesticides that can seep through the land), and even through nature itself – naturally ocurring chemicals are found in most soil and rocks.
But did you know that there could be tiny amounts of chemicals and pesticides such as cyanide, benzene and lead in your tap water, along with 20 or so other chemicals and pesticides?
And did you know, these are chemicals are allowable by law, as long as they meet the maximum amount criteria?
Here’s a full list of chemicals along with the maximum accepted concentration.
|1, 2 dichloroethane||µg/l||3.0|
|Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (vii)||µg/l||0.10|
|Tetrachloroethene and Trichloroethene (viii)||µg/l||10|
|Trihalomethanes: Total (ix)||µg/l||100|
The table above does look worrying, but let’s add some context here.
The amounts shown above are maximum amounts permitted, and are very small indeed, and in the UK, our drinking water is rated as one of the best in the world, with a 99.96% quality rating by Discover Water.
However, if you wish to reduce the majority of these pesticides and chemicals and make your water taste and smell a lot better, then a filter for your tap will help reduce these impurities, giving you a great tasting glass of fresh water every time.
Before going ahead and purchasing a tap water filter, do ensure you know the difference between various tap water filtration systems on the market, as some are designed to filter different things.
And do ensure you test drinking water before you go ahead and buy a filter. Home testing kits are cheap, quick and easy to use.
I’ve included a section below that looks specifically at standards and certification, and differentiates between each type of filter so you can be sure which tap water filter is best for you and your family.
Understanding Certification & Standards
This is a heavy part of this article, but it’s really important.
And it concerns the certification and standards of the below water filters, the claims of the water filters and what they actually do.
Different filters do different things, so it’s important to choose the correct one for your situation and your needs.
But again, it’s worth pointing out that the DWI heavily regulate the concentration of chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, metals, and nitrates, ensuring that only safe levels are present in your tap water, even without a tap water filter installed.
NSF/ANSI 53 is the standard that ensures the tap water filter you buy filters contaminants. Filters with this standard will remove or reduce contamination from over 50 contaminants, including lead.
NSF/ANSI 42 is the standard that ensures the tap water filter filters the water for a better tasting and better looking glass of tap water. Filters with this standard removes or reduces chlorine content, sediments and other contaminants that affect taste and clarity of the water.
NSF/ANSI 372 is the standard that ensures the tap water filter filters the water specifically to reduce lead content. This is a possible solution if you are worried about older lead pipes supplying the boundary of your property.
NSF/ANSI 58 is specific to reverse osmosis systems. This type of standards ensures that this type of filtration meets standards required to reduce contaminants and reduce hardness in ‘hard water’.
It’s important to note as well, that tap water filters are not as common in the UK as in other countries, mainly due to the fact our water supply is one of the best in the world.
So the above standards are American standards, and not WRAS standards.
1. Frizzlife Under Sink Filter (Winner!)
Our winner here is the Frizzlife Filter.
A strange name, I’m sure you’ll agree, but nevertheless, an excellent filter that comes with certifcation that confirms the removal of non-health and health risk contaminants.
This is certified to NSF/ANSI 53 & 42 (improves taste, removes odour and chlorine, and reduces over 50 contaminants).
Which simply means that this filter that will give you fresh, clean tasting water, every single time, whilst removing the majority of contaminants. However, this will not make ‘hard’ water ‘soft’.
This fits under the sink of the tap you want filtered, and will require a section of the pipework supplying cold water to be flexihose. The water filter essentially splits your flexihose into two, with the flexihose that is fitted to the cold water pipe entering the filter, and another flexihose coming out of the other side of the filter and connecting to the tap above. All fixtures and fittings are included.
For a video explanation, watch the video here (it’s the last option where the product images are on the left).
You can check under your sink easily to confirm this – if you have a normal, rigid cold water pipe under your sink serving your tap, you’ll need to remove some of the pipe yourself (medium-hard DIY task) or get a plumber to do it (estimated cost £30-£50).
That’s the first consideration. The second consideration is space under the sink, because as you can see from the image below, this has 3 filter ‘cylinders’ and looks quite bulky.
Indeed, I measured under my own sink for this, and it would require me to remove the shelf within the cupboard to make this fit.
This is definitely a consideration before choosing this filter, and I advise you to measure before purchase.
WINNER! BEST TAP WATER FILTER!
As far as filtration goes, the Frizzlife has 6 layers of filtration (0.5microns) that will absorb microscopic amounts of contaminant, giving you a crystal clear glass of fresh tasting water every time. For those interested in the specifics, some of these filters are made out of Japanese coconut carbon, and ion exchange resin, with each filter absorbing different particulates and contaminants.
Because of the make up of the filters, this filter will allow natural minerals that are good for you, to flow through.
Filter replacement is extremely easy, simply twist the old filter out and twist the new one back in. No need to replace the plastic casing either here, just simply exchange the small filter inside, which reduces on plastic waste.
One downside of these seperate filters (there’s 3 of them), is that each filter has a different shelflife. For example, the sediment filter shelf life is 3-6 months, while the other two have shelf lives ranging between 8-18 months. This is the replacement bundle that inlcudes 2x sediment filters, and one each of the other two: 4 Pack Replacement Filters.
Add to that, they are quite costly, so it’s important to look at these factors before purchase.
Pros & Cons
Below is the pros and cons of the Frizzlife tap water filter:
- Certified to improve taste, remove odour and reduce over 50 chemicals & contaminants
- Easy to install on existing flexihose
- Competitively priced
- Easy filter exchange system ‘twist n go’
- 7 layer filtration
- Retains the good minerals
- Easy to follow instruction booklet with excellent additional information
- Quite bulky, may need to remove shelf under sink to fit
- You may need additional parts if the supplied ones don’t fit your flexihose
- Some may not fancy this DIY task
- Expensive cartidge replacements
Overall, this is an excellent mid range filter that ticks a lot of boxes in terms of reduced contaminants, ease of install, and filter exchange, and comes thoroughly recommended.
You can check the price or purchase this at Amazon.co.uk by clicking here: Frizzlife Tap Water Filter
2. Waterdrop Filter
In second place is the Waterdrop Under Sink Filter, and is a budget option in my top 3.
This is certified to NSF/ANSI 372 & 42 (removes lead content and removes chlorine and odour, improves taste). There is no NSF/ANSI 53 certification on this product, so this won’t be as effective at removing contaminants as the Frizzlife above.
This filter is especially good if you have part lead pipes running into your property, or your water has a chlorine or metallic taste to it, because the filter is designed specifically to improve taste and smell.
As the name suggests, this filter fits directly to the the cold water pipe that supplies your tap above.
For you to connect this up easily yourself, your water tap must be connected under the sink by flexihose in order to install the filter.
If there’s a direct connection to the tap via a normal pipe (like a copper or plastic pvc pipe), you will not be able to fit this tap water filter, unless you convert some of the pipe to flexihose (a medium-hard DIY task), or get a plumber to do this task for you (estimated cost around £30-£50).
The Waterdrop filter essentially splits your flexihose into two, with the flexihose that is fitted to the cold water pipe entering the filter, and another flexihose coming out of the other side of the filter and connecting to the tap above. All fixtures and fittings are included.
The filter also comes with a handy template enabling you to screw in two screws in the correct position in your cupboard which act as hooks – simply lift the filter onto the screws to secure in place.
One consideration here is space, as the filter stands 31cm in height, so make sure you have enough room under your sink in order to install it.
In terms of filtration, 3 filters provide the filtration, including a carbon block, polyester membrane and a Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) which will protect against bacterial growth and reduce heavy metals. This type of filtration will provide you and your family with clear water that tastes great.
To replace the filter (which claims 12 months or 30,000 litres), simply twist the old one off, and twist the new one on – so extremely easy. However, these replacement cartridges are more costly than the Frizzlife ones, so it’s important to factor that into your purchase.
Pros & Cons
Below is the pros and cons of the Waterdrop filter:
- Attractively priced
- Filter lasts for 12 months or 30,000 litres
- Excellent at improving taste especially chlorine taste
- Easy to set up
- Easy to install
- Replacement filters easy to replace
- High flow rate
- 3 filters, including carbon filter
- Not sure how anyone can judge 30,000 litres
- Doesn’t filter contaminants as well as some others
Overall, if you’re on a tight budget and wish to make your water taste better and smell better, then this filter is a good choice.
Do check the price of the cartridge replacement though, and factor this into your purchase.
3. Waterdrop G3 Reverse Osmosis Filter
In 3rd place, is the Waterdrop G3 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System.
This is an all singing, all dancing smart enhanced water filter system and tap (included), that will require deep pockets to purchase.
And that is the underlying reason why this is in 3rd place – the cost.
This is EXPENSIVE.
But is it worth it?
Absolutely. The Waterdrop reverse osmosis water filter system is tested and certified against NSF/ANSI standard 58, and gives a total dissolved solids (TDS) reduction rate is up to 91.9%. Which basically means it’s going to reduce the hardness in your water (see water hardness map towards the end of this article).
It also has an 8 stage deep filtration system built in, including two cotton membranes, a carbon block made from coconut, an inhibitor membrane and a reverse osmosis membrane layer.
Effectively then, this will make your tap water taste great, look great, and will remove the absolute majority of contaminants, chemicals, micro-organisms, bacteria and other sediment that you want absolutely none of in your drinking water.
This product also needs to be plugged in for the reverse osmosis to work, as the water has to be pumped past the osmosis membrane, which gives you some clue as to how good this product is. However, even though there is a pump, it is extremely quiet and doesn’t create any unnecessary nosie.
The electrical supply is also needed for the smart LED tap, which measures water hardness (TDS) on flow, and gives an indicator for filter lifespan, ensuring you know exactly when to replace the filter.
If you live in some areas of the United kingdom where you experience ‘hard water’ or water that ‘smells bad’, then this is an effective remedy to that situation.
For installation, you’ll need quite a bit of space under your sink for this to fit, and I would say that DIY installation requires a skill of medium to high merit to fit this, due to the added complexity of a drain pipe needing to be added to your current setup, and the installation of the tap itself.
But if you are prepared to spend this amount on this filter, the cost of an experienced plumber to do this for you is priceless.
Once again, this is a premium water filter at a premium price, and one of the best water filters you can buy in the UK. I’ve given it 3rd place purely based on the fact that for most people, this will be out of their budget range.
Pros & Cons
Below is the pros and cons of the Waterdrop G3:
- Top of the range water filtration system
- Included tap is ultra modern
- Tap water hardness shown on tap display
- Filter lifespan shown on tap display
- Reverse osmosis with 8 filters
- Integral water pump
- Comprehensive instructions
- Expense will rule most people out
- Tricky to install for some – may require a plumber
- Replacement filters are costly
Again, this is an all singing, all dancing water tap filtration system that goes above and beyond anything else on the market.
If you live in some areas of the UK (namely the West Midlands, London and South East), and your water smells and tastes disgusting, then this filter is a game changer for you and your family.
You can check the price or purchase this at Amazon.co.uk by clicking here: Waterdrop G3 Reverse Osmosis and check the price of filter replacements here: G3 Filters and upgraded 2 year lifespan Filter.
How Does A Tap Water Filter Work?
A tap water filter, also known as a faucet filter or countertop filter, is designed to remove impurities and improve the taste and quality of tap water. As already stated, different filters will filter for different things, and at varying standards. And it’s a good reason to test your tap water at home before comitting to a water filter.
While different filter systems may have specific mechanisms, I will provide a general overview of how they typically work.
- On Tap Attachment: A tap water filter is usually installed directly onto a faucet. It may have a simple screw-on attachment or a diverter valve that allows you to switch between filtered and unfiltered water.
- Filtration materials: Inside the filter, there are usually one or more filtration materials present that target different contaminants. Common types of filtration media include activated carbon, ceramic filters, and ion exchange resins. Each media has its own unique properties for removing specific impurities.
- Activated carbon: Activated carbon is a porous material with a large surface area. It is effective in removing chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some heavy metals, and certain chemicals. When water passes through the carbon filter, these impurities adhere to the surface of the carbon.
- Ceramic filters: Ceramic filters contain tiny pores that can block larger particles, sediments, and bacteria. They are often used as a pre-filter to remove visible contaminants and provide an initial level of filtration.
- Ion exchange resins: Ion exchange resins are designed to remove dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that contribute to water hardness. These resins exchange the minerals with sodium or potassium ions, resulting in softer water.
- Filter maintenance: Over time, the filtration media can become saturated with contaminants, reducing the filter’s effectiveness. Most tap water filters have a lifespan specified by the manufacturer, after which the filter cartridge needs to be replaced. Regular maintenance and filter replacement are important to ensure optimal performance.
It’s worth noting that the effectiveness of tap water filters can vary depending on the specific brand and model, as we can see above with the varying systems, prices and adhered standards. Some filters may incorporate additional technologies like reverse osmosis (like the G3) for more comprehensive purification.
When choosing your tap water filter, consider your water quality, the area you live the contaminants you want to target, and the filter’s certifications and performance claims.
How Easy Is It To Install A Tap Water Filter?
This depends on the water filter you buy, your tap, and the water pipe connections in your home.
It also depends on your level of DIY skills with plumbing and how confident you are, as well as depending if you have the right tools.
Inevitably, it’s sometimes cost effective to get a plumber in to do it quickly and correctly the first time round.
Should I Buy An ‘On Tap’ Filter?
An ‘on tap’ filter is a filter that is connected directly to your tap spout.
I’m going to say no, for the simple reason that you cannot use full flow on your tap (reducing the speed of the water coming out of your tap), and using hot water through it ruins the filter systems on most ‘on tap’ solutions.
Those two reasons alone are enough for me to not recommend this type of tap water filter.
The third reason, and the reason why most will be put off this type of tap water filter, is the fact that most ‘on tap’ filters look absolutely ridiculous, especially if they don’t match the aesthetics of your current tap (like material and colour).
What Is Hard Water?
Water hardness is a specifiic measurement to measure the amount of dissolved minerals is present in water. Water hardness is measured in parts per million (PPM). When water falls as rain, it is soft, but when it hits the ground and then seeps into the earth, it can pick up various elements that dissolves into the water.
For example, rainwater seeping into the ground of a crop-producing farm will dissolve pesticides in that water. Rainwater seeping through limestone will gain limescale materials.
Check the map below to see an estimate of how hard or soft your water is.
The softer it is, the better it is. On the Waterdrop G3 model for instance, the tap display will show you the water hardness as it comes through the tap.
For reference, anything considered under 100 parts per million is considered soft water, and anything over that amount is considered hard water.
You can test the hardness of your water quickly and cheaply using these devices or strips here: How To Test Your Drinking Water.
Cheapest Short Term Solution
If you are struggling with water quality, including the taste and smell of it, the easiest, quickest and cheapest short term solution is to buy a water filter jug.
These jugs are just a few pounds, are easy to use, and provide some level of improvement, although they won’t be anywhere near as good as the solutions I have listed above.
A tap water filter will eliminate a large percentage of unwanted contaminants from your drinking supply, give you peace of mind that you and your family are drinking the cleanest water possible, and will save you a lot of money over the long term as you’ll no longer need to buy bottled water.
Do be aware that different standards apply to these filters, and I do encourage you to read the section where I talk about standards and certification.
That being said, any water filter will improve your water, so if you are looking to improve the quality of your home drinking water, a tap water filter will do the job just nicely.
Other Articles You May Like
Here’s a small selection of articles you may also like from this site:
- Is Tap Water Safe To Drink At Home
- How To Test Drinking Water At Home
- Kitchen Safety For Children
- How To Prevent Children from Choking
- Best Water Filter Jug (UK Top 3)
Here’s the complete list of products and links mentioned on this page.
- Waterdrop Under Sink Filter (Amazon.co.uk)
- Frizzlife Filter (Amazon.co.uk)
- Waterdrop G3 (Amazon.co.uk)
- TDS Tester (Amazon.co.uk)
Here’s the sources used for this article:
Questions & Comments
If you have a question or a comment on this article on tap water filters, please use the comments box below.
I’ll try my best to reply to each and every one of your questions, comments and suggestions.
Stay Safe. Stay Secure.