What's the best device for purifying well water? Flickr Commons image via Merida Hideaway
People with well water have a fairly different experience than those who are on city water. While there's some benefit to being in a rural area and self-sufficient enough to have your own water source, it can take a little more energy and tools to properly care for it. For example, all city water is filtered - at least to an extent - so how do you get your water up to par with what the city systems do?
The answer is an in-home water purification system, which we'll look at in this article.
Basically we're rounding up the types and models of water purifiers that are best for use with homes that have well water. You can also checkout some of our overall best water filter and purifier recommendations.
Otherwise, let's get started with our well water picks.
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What type of Water Purifier is best for a well?
Water purifiers come in several different forms, including pitchers, source-based (reverse osmosis) purifiers, and even whole-home water purifiers. While whole-home systems are desirable for homes with well water, they're often far too expensive and not worth the up-front cost. A better compromise would be reverse osmosis water purifiers, which can be installed at specific sites giving you a filtered source of drinking water.
Those are the types of water purifiers we'll focus on in this article.
In the following table, we have a quick list of the best water purifiers for well water homes, all of which are reverse osmosis systems:
Best Water Purifier for Well Water (our top 4 picks)
iSpring RCC7AK System
APEC Top Tier 5-Stage System
Express Water 5-Stage System
Moe Master TMHP HydroPerfection System
1. iSpring RCC7AK System
There's very little to dislike about this unit, unless you struggle with picking up and carrying the package (it is heavier than most of the others we handled).
The cartridge can also be a little loud when installing (almost sounds like a crack).
Installation isn't the quickest, especially if you aren't replacing an existing system. We'd recommend some of the YouTube videos put out by the company and some individuals who have tackled the installation project themselves.
The following is a good, quick DIY installation guide:
You'll need to clear everything out from underneath your sink and install the feed water adapter first. From there, it's pretty straightforward to just follow the included instructions and/or the DIY video. By a number of accounts their customer support is actually quite good, and they have a lot of good documentation as well.
I'm fairly certain most of the parts are made of polymer, which is actually a step above what most plumbers use (usually a hard plastic), giving you some strength and longevity. We didn't notice any cracks, scratches, or broken pieces during a brief unboxing.
The taste is great and we haven't seen reports of any leaks or anything like that. Some users have tested the water with kits and compared the results and taste to Nestle Pure Life bottled water. We'd recommend it for well water solely on the multiple stages of filtration and the nearly microscopic level of scrutiny it puts your water through, but it's a great option overall just for taste and product quality.
2. APEC 5-Tier System
APEC uses five total filters, broken down as follows:
- 1 Pre-filter
- 2 Particulate filters
- 2 Micro filters
Installation will take longer if you aren't replacing an existing unit, between two and four hours. Though as expected the water from this unit tastes great, even comparable to Fiji water based on some of the feedback we've gotten.
Like the iSpring, installation documentation is quite good and they also have a really good support department.
If you're handy enough to do the connection, the unit can service both a kitchen sink and refrigerator drinking source. While we didn't test the length of filter life, it seems like most people reported a family of four getting through the particulate filters in about a year. We'd recommend buying a few spares and keeping them on hand.
The faucet is fairly similar to others included in these types of systems. Keep in mind, you'll need to drill a hole on your counter top for the second faucet if there wasn't one already there. This will require a special drill bit or the help of a contractor. Though you should get decent flow from this faucet that seems to have a bit more pressure than similar models.
3. Express Water 5-Stage System
This unit is one of the best-value options you can get for purifying well water in the sub-$150 range, and a great just-the-basics option that gets you an extremely picky filtration system (gets close to 99.99% of all contaminants). The microscopic level of purification is great for well water or anywhere you want a clean drinking source.
Make sure the tubes are fully clicked into the fittings so there are no leaks. This is covered in the instructions and several YouTube videos, but we noticed they're a little stubborn.
We appreciated the space conservation with the unit installed on the wall and the tank taking up a minimal amount of room beneath the sink.
4. Home Master TMHP HydroPerfection System
The TMHP HydroPerfection series by Home Master is far more expensive than the others listed here, but it might just be worth it. You get nine stages of filtration that includes the UV filter for microbial-level purification.
Though in a multitude of ways this is just a better purification system that's most effective when it comes to well water.
First, the installation is easier than the others in this list, particularly since much of the system is already assembled inside the box. You also have the tubing color coded which saves some research time.
It's a simple but effective upgrade over systems with all-white tubing.
As with the previous unit, you'll want to make sure you push the filtering tubes hard to make sure they're connected and to avoid leaks.
Not unexpectedly, the taste is fantastic and we also noticed that ice cubes freeze really clear, where you can literally see all the way through them. As with most similar systems, expect to change the filters annually, depending on frequency of use. Again, the price is higher, but of the four in this list, we liked this one the best, especially if you're trying to purifier well water.
Pros and Cons of a Water Purifier with Well Water
There aren't really any cons of having a water purifier in any situation, other than the fact that they can be expensive and you have to change the filter every year or so. But for well water that isn't treated by a municipality, this is a wise move that will help guard against impurities that people with city water don't have to worry about.
Pros of Water Purifier with a Well
- Significantly reduce impurities
- Better purity than most city water sources
- Significantly improved taste
- Separates drinking water from water you use for non-consumption purposes (different faucet)
Cons of Water Purifier with a Well
- Need to change the filter
Adding a water purifier is something we'd actually recommend for any household that relies on a well for water they drink. Typically that water is more likely to be contaminated or just less pure than city water, even you can't tell simply from the taste. And that's not to say it'll make you sick to drink well water without the purifier, but it's just a much better product and will give you a little more peace of mind.
Features to Consider
Most of the features that matter in the well water scenario are important in other situations that call for a water purifier. Primarily, you're looking at filtration stages, installation methods, and levels of filtration (i.e., UV or no UV). In this section, I'll explain a little more about each feature we use to make our selections.
This is simply the number of filtration stages, which doesn't necessarily consider the type of filtration. If possible, go for a water purifier that has five stages of filtration.
This is a bit harder to pin down because installation can only be experienced and not really advertised. The best way to do this is to look on YouTube or read through the reviews to see what people have already experienced with installing the water purifier you're considering. In most cases, they're going to be easier to install than they look.
Levels of Filtration
There are a lot of different types of filtration, and you want to get as many of them in your reverse osmosis water purifier as possible. Typically filters will be ordered by water level of contaminants they remove like sediment, chemicals, or microbial level filtering. This usually leaves us with an amalgamation of the following:
Image via Amazon via iSpring
You'll almost always have sediment, GAC, RO membrane, and then one or two carbon filters, at least in the nicer purifiers. Going above and beyond that will get you into pH and UV filtration for increasing alkaline levels and decreasing microbial contaminents.
Size (height and width)
Most water purifiers are smaller than they look in the pictures, but can take up significant space underneath your kitchen sink. For those of you with a garbage disposal, you'll need to take the time and measure the amount of free space, then check that with the dimensions of the unit you're considering.
How many gallons does each water purifier hold? Reverse osmosis purifiers will usually hold about one gallon, then will fill up on a continual basis, meaning you always have a gallon to draw from, though some tanks are largely and can hold up to two or three gallons. For well water and basic home drinking water, smaller families (five person households and lower) should be fine with a one gallon tank.
Flow Quality and Water pressure
This is harder to measure outside of user reviews, just because you have to hook the unit up and test it. For the ones we've tested, flow pressure is generally not great, but it's also not a huge problem if you're just filling up glasses or a pitcher to put in the fridge. Personally, I'd prefer more pressure, but this is just a peripheral concern and something to keep in mind if you're reading other people's reviews.
Even if you're okay with the taste of your well water, these purifiers can make a significant difference in the health and overall quality of the water you drink. Most people install them for one entry point, usually at the kitchen sink where it can also be attached to a water line for the fridge (ice and drinking water).
For families that cook and eat meals at home a lot, runners who need to hydrate, or anyone who just wants better-tasting and cleaner water, we'd recommend investing in one of these units.
If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I'll do my best to help out.