The Best Under-Sink Water Filter

The Best Under-Sink Water Filter

Our pick

Aquasana AQ-5200

Aquasana AQ-5200

Exceptional, affordable under-sink filtration

Certified for the most contaminants, widely available, affordable, and compact, the Aquasana AQ-5200 is the under-sink water filter system we’d look for first.

Buying Options

$100 from Amazon
$130 from Home Depot

The Aquasana AQ-5200 is ANSI/NSF-certified to virtually eliminate 77 different contaminants, including lead, mercury, volatile organic compounds, pharmaceuticals, and other materials that few of its competitors catch. It’s one of a tiny handful of filters certified for PFOA and PFOS, compounds involved in the manufacture of nonstick materials that received an EPA Health Advisory in February 2019.

Replacement filters cost about $60 for a set, or $120 per year on Aquasana’s recommended six-month replacement cycle. And, being barely larger than a couple of cans of soda, the system doesn’t take up a lot of valuable room under your sink. This widely available system uses high-quality metal hardware, and its faucet comes in multiple finishes.

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Runner-up

A.O. Smith AO-US-200

A.O. Smith AO-US-200

Same performance, different name

Identical to the Aquasana AQ-5200 in certifications, specs, and size, the A.O. Smith AO-US-200 is exclusive to Lowe’s, so not as widely available.

Buying Options

$140 from Amazon

The A.O. Smith AO-US-200 is identical to the Aquasana AQ-5200 in every important respect. (That’s because A.O. Smith bought Aquasana in 2016.) It has the same exceptional certifications, all-metal hardware, and compact form, but because it’s sold only at Lowe’s it’s not as widely available, and its faucet comes in only one finish: brushed nickel. If that suits your style, we recommend shopping between the two models by price: one or the other is frequently on sale. Filter-replacement costs are similar: about $60 for a set, or $120 a year on A.O. Smith’s recommended six-month cycle.

Upgrade pick

Aquasana AQ-5300+ Max Flow

Aquasana AQ-5300+ Max Flow

Higher flow and capacity

With the same great certifications but a higher flow rate and filter capacity, the AQ-5300+ works for homes that use a lot of water—but it costs a bit more and takes up more space under the sink.

Buying Options

$165 $149 from Amazon

You save $16 (10%)

The Aquasana AQ-5300+ Max Flow has the same exceptional 77 ANSI/NSF certifications as our other top picks but offers higher flow (0.72 versus 0.5 gallons per minute) and filter capacity (800 versus 500 gallons). That makes it our pick for households that need a lot of filtered water and want it as fast as possible. It adds a sediment prefilter, too, which the AQ-5200 lacks; this may extend the contaminant-filters’ higher flow in homes with sediment-rich water. That said, the AQ-5300+ model—with three liter-bottle-size filters—is much larger than the AQ-5200 and the A.O. Smith AO-US-200 but has the same recommended filter lifespan of six months. And it costs a bit more up front and for replacement filters (about $80 a set or $160 a year). So weigh its benefits against its higher cost.

Budget pick

Filtrete 4US-MAXL-S01

Filtrete 4US-MAXL-S01

Lower cost, fewer certifications

Smaller and cheaper than our other picks, the Filtrete also has fewer certifications.

Buying Options

$64 from Amazon
$80 from Home Depot

The Filtrete 4US-MAXL-S01 is our former top pick, but after refining and strengthening our criteria, it’s now our budget pick. It’s a good filter at a great price—the only one of our picks that sells for under $100, with replacement filters about $42 apiece or $84 a year—and has lead and Standard 401 “emerging contaminants” certifications, but not VOC. It’s rated to a high 0.75 gpm flow and 750 gallons of capacity. But its plastic hardware and lower ratings from owners, along with its weaker certifications, kept it from being our top pick this time.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Aquasana AQ-5200

Aquasana AQ-5200

Exceptional, affordable under-sink filtration

Certified for the most contaminants, widely available, affordable, and compact, the Aquasana AQ-5200 is the under-sink water filter system we’d look for first.

Buying Options

$100 from Amazon
$130 from Home Depot

Runner-up

A.O. Smith AO-US-200

A.O. Smith AO-US-200

Same performance, different name

Identical to the Aquasana AQ-5200 in certifications, specs, and size, the A.O. Smith AO-US-200 is exclusive to Lowe’s, so not as widely available.

Buying Options

$140 from Amazon

Upgrade pick

Aquasana AQ-5300+ Max Flow

Aquasana AQ-5300+ Max Flow

Higher flow and capacity

With the same great certifications but a higher flow rate and filter capacity, the AQ-5300+ works for homes that use a lot of water—but it costs a bit more and takes up more space under the sink.

Buying Options

$165 $149 from Amazon

You save $16 (10%)

Budget pick

Filtrete 4US-MAXL-S01

Filtrete 4US-MAXL-S01

Lower cost, fewer certifications

Smaller and cheaper than our other picks, the Filtrete also has fewer certifications.

Buying Options

$64 from Amazon
$80 from Home Depot

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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