What To Know Before Installing An Under-Sink Water Filter

Imagine being able to turn on the water faucet, fill up a glass of water, and take a long, cool drink without worrying about its purity. Or, being able to get rid of your old Brita water pitcher once and for all. That's probably what you're hoping for if you purchase an under-sink water filter — which offers the convenience of simply turning on a faucet to produce quality drinking water. Under-sink water filters save counter space, last a long time, and are cost-effective. However, there are also some disadvantages, such as their diminished water pressure, and for some, they may be too much of a challenge to maintain or be outside of certain budgets. 

An under-sink water filter is installed under the kitchen sink, or whichever sink you prefer to have the option of getting filtered water from. A plastic tube is connected directly to the cold water line and diverts water to the filters. Another plastic tube delivers filtered water to a special faucet mounted on top of the sink, so it doesn't mix with unfiltered water. 

The pros of an under-sink water filter

Under-sink water filters are convenient and offer targeted filtering at the point of use. This means you aren't paying to filter unnecessarily, such as for showering or washing dishes or clothes. In addition, you don't have anything extra on your counters to cause problems aesthetically or add clutter. You can change the dispenser fairly easily if you don't like the one that comes with it, which is a relief to those who don't like the appearance of the included faucet.

Also, maintenance is minimal — the main thing to remember is to replace the cartridge roughly every six months or so. The filtration system yields quality results, too. If you've been dealing with a pitcher, you're going to notice better quality water with the under-sink system. Or, If you've been buying bottled water for drinking, this is a better long-term solution. The average cost of an under-sink water filter is from $100 to $300, plus you can buy an installation kit for an extra $50 to $80. If you hire a pro, expect to pay from $50 to $300 extra to install it. The replacement cartridges for an under-sink water filter are around $60, or $120 over a year.

The cons of an under-sink water filter

On the flip side, the countertop dispenser has a slower flow than most of us would like. It's a smaller faucet and the pressure is less than ideal, but it is sufficient for drinking use. It also has no method of refrigeration, so you'll need to fill up your own pitcher or ice cube mold to have cold drinking water. Lastly, it does take up space underneath your sink, which might matter for very small kitchens. Overall, it makes a terrific solution for people who have decent water for cleaning purposes but would prefer to filter their drinking water.

If you have very hard water or very poor quality water, you may prefer to filter all the water that comes into your house. After all, we know that very hard water can cause all kinds of horrors, negatively affecting skin, hair, clothing, pipes, and water-using appliances. In this case, a whole-house system would make better sense. But for many households in America, an under-sink water filter makes a perfect choice and is considered a solid investment.