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Faucet Filters: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Updated on April 23, 2011


Water is the most abundant resource on Earth and it is critical to our survival. Tap water is supposedly safe, but with an overseas move coming up, I wanted to make sure my family was drinking the safest water possible. Buying water bottles is expensive and cumbersome. They take up space and you have to make sure they get recycled. Research told me that housing in Barbados is small with little to no storage. One cost effective way to have sparkling clean water is to install a carbon faucet filter. And so we embarked on a two year journey with three different faucet filters. Over time, one thing became very clear. All faucet filters are not the same.

Barbados boasts of its clean, coral filtered water, but I had been warned it didn’t taste very good. (And it doesn’t…it tastes like the ocean.) After viewing Target’s selection of faucet water filters we chose the Pur 3–Stage Horizontal Faucet Mount Chrome FM-9400B model at Target. We decided this model would be the most durable due to the chrome material. I found space for it in one of our eight suitcases we had packed and it flew with us to Barbados.

We installed the Pur filter in the temporary house we lived in for six weeks. So far, so good. Then we took it with us to our permanent home and confidently used it for a few weeks. The filter’s chrome design appealed to us and it didn’t crowd the double sink we had. About four months into using the filter, no water would come out. When the switch was turned to filter nothing came out. We had to take it apart and reinstall it. It went from bad to worse. During the 16 months that we lived in Barbados the filter would continuously stop working so that we needed to take it apart and readjust the fixture. Before a year was out the filter cracked and dripped water when turned on. If I was careful, I could fill a pot with just filtered water while the drips leaked down the back of the faucet. With time, the problem got worse. The drips and leaks got worse until I was uncertain whether the water I was getting was filtered or unfiltered. We eventually ended up buying bottled water to make tea, coffee, and sports drinks, which completely went against the whole purpose of having a filter. As we were packing to leave for a new country, we threw the Pur faucet filter in the trash.

At our next house, a faucet filter was more of a necessity since the water wasn’t always clean and there was a lot of sediment. I ordered a Brita 42201 on Tap Filtration System White faucet filter from CVS and installed it immediately when it arrived. Within days the filter had fallen off the spigot. When trying to screw it back in place, the plastic threads wouldn’t always catch and then water would spray everywhere. And I didn’t dare breathe a sigh of relief if the threads did screw together nicely, because it was only a matter of time before the filter would fall off when I needed to use it. On the rare chance it screwed together and stayed there, we had to remember to keep the water pressure low when turning the water on or we would get a face full of water spray. The Brita faucet filter had my husband and I so annoyed and frustrated with it that we took a hammer to it when our new faucet filter arrived.

  The third faucet filter was chosen with more discretion. I researched the different brands and read the reviews at Amazon. This time it was a Culligan. I ordered the Culligan FM-15A Level 3 faucet filter from Amazon. We were thrilled with the metal faucet attachment. A simple pull on the “diverter valve system” lever filtered the water with no spray, no, drips, and no falls. Okay, so the filter is white, but who cares? It actually worked and it has been working great! Although we have only had our Culligan faucet filter for about two months, we are confident in its longevity and durability.

Not only does the Culligan FM-15A Level 3 faucet filter work the best, it beats the Pur and Brita models we used in other areas as well. Culligan’s filter has a 5 year warranty compared to Pur’s 1 year warranty. I was unable to find any warranty information for the Brita 42201 on Tap Filtration System. In addition, Culligan filters last through 200 gallons of water while Brita and Pur filters last for only 100 gallons. Although Pur’s replacement filters were slightly cheaper on Amazon as of February 5, 2010 ($10.85 per filter), than Culligan’s ($12.54 per filter), Culligan came out a winner again since its filter lasts twice as long as Pur and Brita ($14.70 per filter).

Money savings is also apparent in the cost of the three water faucet filters we tried. As of February 5, 2010 Culligan FM-15A Level 3 is the cheapest at Amazon with a price tag of only $18.95. Brita 42201 on Tap Water Filtration System was priced at $23.52, while Pur 3-Stage Horizontal Faucet Mount Chrome FM-9400B was a whopping $35.47. The savings from Pur to Culligan is $16.48.

Time will tell whether the Culligan FM-15A Level 3 faucet filter lives up to my expectations. It has already outlasted the other two rival brands I tried. One thing is for certain, though, I made sure I kept the Culligan warranty information. As for now, I can cook with the water from the Culligan filter and give it to my family to drink with a clear mind, knowing any contaminants and impurities are filtered out. And I no longer worry about the water pressure when I turn the water, sprays and drips leaking out, or if the filter will fall off.

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    • h2ofilters profile image

      Dare Adelugba 

      7 years ago from NY

      Great post! The challenge is the frequency of replacing the filter cartridge. Over a long period, the cost of using a faucet filter may be a litter higher than either a counter top or a undersink filter. But using faucet filter over bottled water is clearly the most economical, and environmentally better.

    • Leslie Jo Barra profile imageAUTHOR

      Leslie Jo Barra 

      7 years ago

      R Koh, so far I am still happy with our Culligan.

    • profile image

      R Koh 

      7 years ago

      My experiences with the Pur faucet system is exactly like yours. Pur may have a great price at the store, but when you have to buy a 3rd faucet system in less than a year because previous versions cracked/leaked/fell off the sink, it is no bargain. Thanks for your suggestion about the Culligan, it will be my next purchase!

    • Leslie Jo Barra profile imageAUTHOR

      Leslie Jo Barra 

      8 years ago

      Mark, thank you. My trails with faucet filters have seemed to come to an end with Culligan one we have. I'll check out your website suggestion. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Mark Moller 

      8 years ago

      Great hub and I like the title! A good place to check out is AdvancedWaterFilters.com. There are filters for every water source in the house so you never have to worry about poor quality water. Thank you Leslie!

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