With so many water filter options on the market, from pitchers and tap mounts to under-sink and whole-house systems, it can be overwhelming trying to determine the best choice for your needs and budget. Water filters come in a range of types; including carbon filters, reverse osmosis systems, UV light purifiers, and more, each using different methods to reduce contaminants. But how do you select the right one?

In this comprehensive guide, we analyse the most popular water filter types and brands to reveal the advantages, limitations, costs, and overall effectiveness of different filtration solutions. Whether you want to treat tap water at the kitchen sink, fridge or entire home, are concerned about lead, chlorine, bacteria or pharmaceuticals, or are simply after the best tasting drinking water — we've done the research to determine the best water filters by category.

We compare factors like upfront costs versus long term filter replacement and maintenance expenses, ease of installation and use, contaminant reducing capabilities, and impact on waterflow rate and pressure. Key terminology is explained for filtration methods like ion exchange, submicron mechanical filtration, and activated carbon adsorption. By the end, you should understand the key differences between options like reverse osmosis, UV filters, under-sink systems and have clear recommendations for the best solutions to meet any needs and budget.

Comparing Major Water Filter Types

There is a wide variety of water filter types available, ranging from simple jug filters to complex whole-house systems. The major technologies are summarized below based on how they work, strengths, limitations and relative costs.

Filter type Method Pros Cons Cost  Best for 
Activated Carbon Filter Adsorption on carbon medium Inexpensive, good for improving taste and odour, good flow rate, some are effective at reducing chemicals & metals, wide availability Limited life span, doesn't reduce microbiological contaminants (unless a biocidal agent is incorporated) can easily become blocked without prefiltration £15 - £50 (pitcher or tap filter); £100+ (under sink) Basic water polishing
Reverse Osmosis Forced through semipermeable membrane Reduces wide range of contaminants including metals and salts Slow filtration rate, high wastage of water (typically for every litre of pure water 4 litres are wasted), high upfront cost, ‘empty’ tasting water as all the minerals are stripped from the water. Requires electrical power £200 - £500 standard system installation Addressing high contaminant issues
Ceramic Filter with an assortment of internal media Water flow through a ceramic filter encounters multiple twists, turns and sharp angles due to the complex ceramic structure. Particles that may have penetrated the surface of the ceramic become trapped within the structure Good balance of contaminant reduction for cysts, lead, asbestos, chemicals etc. dependant upon the internal treatment media. Requires no power and has a cleanable surface so you can restore the flow More frequent filter replacement needed than RO £95 - £200 (gravity system; £70 - £250 (under counter) Modest filtration at affordable pricing
Ultraviolet (UV) Exposure to UV light No filter needed so no water pressure impact Microbiological treatment only, requires electricity & prefiltration to prevent particulate shielding of organisms. No chemical treatment £50 and up; low operating cost Microbial and bacteria issues
Sediment Filter Mechanical straining Inexpensive pre-filter for other systems Limited contaminant capture on its own £10 - £25 cartridge Pre-filtration when needed


 As the table shows, factors like contaminants in your water, desired filtration intensity, costs, ease of use and more dictate what filter type makes sense for your situation.

Let’s now look at how they can be inside your home:


Filter style Description Pros Cons
Pitcher/Jug Gravity-fed filters poured into water jug Inexpensive, portable, easy to replace cartridges Slow flow rate, frequent cartridge changes needed, limited contaminant reducing
Countertop Installs directly onto existing kitchen sink faucet Convenience of providing filtered water on demand, better than a jug and just as good as a gravity system Can limit space/functionality at sink
Gravity System Standalone unit, sits on a counter, manually fed with water Can be moved around and taken with you on house moves, or holidays Takes up counter top space and needs manual intervention
Under Counter Installs underneath sink connects to water supply Higher capacities for lower maintenance, moderately improved functionality More difficult installation, loss of under sink storage space, higher initial cost
 Whole House  Full centralised water treatment upon entry to home  Comprehensive water filtration for all uses Very high installation and equipment costs, specialist plumbing skills needed, may still need point of use filters


 Let’s look closer at recommended options across the Doulton range:

Doulton Water Filters

D-CP101 with Biotect Ultra Countertop System – installs onto your Kitchen Tap
Doulton HIP, Doulton HIP Duo & Doulton HIP Trio Under counter plumbed system, operates using water pressure. Duo & Trio have additional chambers to allow an additional water treatment cartridge options
British Berkefeld Stainless Steel Gravity System  Fill the top with water and take filtered water from the bottom chamber. 


Hopefully the overview gives you a clearer picture of the optimal filter choices available based on issues you want to treat, budget, and other requirements. No single water filter is suited for every circumstance, so make sure to take the time to understand your specific water quality and needs.

Key Considerations When Selecting Water Filters

No matter which filtration method you choose, keep the following guidance in mind:

  • Select the right capacity - Filter lifespan and size based on household water use
  • Consider total costs - Both upfront and ongoing filter replacement
  • Check certifications - NSF/ANSI & WRAS certification for material safety, structural integrity & contaminant reduction claims
  • Allow sufficient water flow - Especially for options like reverse osmosis
  • Follow maintenance schedule - Replace filters on time and clean when needed

There are a wide range of water filter types and installation methods to address different water quality issues, budgets, and requirements. Key steps are understanding your tap water contaminants, selecting a suitable filtration method, comparing reputable brands and models with certified contaminant reduction capabilities, then installing the right system based on your home’s space and setup. Pitcher filters offer the most convenient entry point whilst whole house systems provide the most comprehensive treatment. In between, options like reverse osmosis under the counter or tap mounted ceramic provide a balance of effectiveness and practicality.

Take the time to comprehend your needs then analyse costs against long term filter maintenance. This will ensure you select the best water filter solution to reliably deliver cleaned, filtered water for all your drinking and cooking demands. Consult our range of recommendations or reach out with any additional advice needed for your situation.

Glossary of Key Terminology:

Water filter - A device which reduces impurities from water to make taste better. Works via methods like physical straining, adsorption, or chemical alteration.

Reverse osmosis - Water filtration method that forces water through a semipermeable membrane to separate out contaminants and filters the water.

Carbon filter - Filtration using activated carbon media to adsorb contaminants through a chemical/physical attraction to the porous surface area.

Ceramic Filter – Filtration using a ceramic element to reduce particles and a range of media to improve taste, address chemical or metal contaminants.

Sediment filter - A pre-filter using mechanical straining to capture some sediment and particles in the water via a physical barrier.

Ion exchange - Water filtration process that reduces heavy metals and minerals by exchanging naturally occurring ions in the water with other harmless mineral salts.

Ultraviolet (UV) light - Disinfection method using UV rays to kill microorganisms like bacteria and protozoa for microbial water treatment.

Pitcher (jug) filter - Gravity-fed water filter inside a plastic pitcher container. Water slowly moves through filter cartridge inside the jug.

Faucet mount - Water filter installed directly onto the existing kitchen sink faucet to treat small volumes.

Gravity System - System that uses gravity to pass the water through Ceramic filters including a carbon block, to provide filtered water.

Under counter – A water filter installed underneath the kitchen sink with separate faucet.

Whole house - Full centralized water filtration system installed at main water inlet to treat all water entering home.

 This covers the basics for choosing the best water filters for home use. Please have a look at the following articles to see if we can help you further, or visit the shop for your new Doulton water filter here.