Water being poured into glass

The 9 best water filter jugs tried and tested

Want purified water at home without using single-use plastics? We review the best water filter jugs from brands including BRITA, Argos and ZeroWater.

We’ve picked products we think you’ll love and may earn commission from links on this page. Read about why you can trust BBC Good Food reviews.

This page was updated in August 2020.

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In these eco-conscious times, many of us who aren’t keen on tap water – especially in hard water areas – are making the shift from bottled to filtered water at home. Using filtered water can improve the taste of tea and coffee, as well as boiled veg.

Why buy a water filter jug?

A great way to cut down on single-use plastics, home filter jugs come in all shapes and sizes, from glassware with charcoal filters, to water tanks with taps that are suitable for families.

Some filters are recyclable or biodegradable, while others need to be binned, which is another consideration if you’re trying to be greener.

Promises made by the top jugs on the market include improving the taste of tap water, adding minerals, removing all dissolvable solids or making water more alkaline.

They often come with health claims, too, which need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Also, while some come with accurate indicators telling you when it’s time to change your filter, with others it’s a bit of a guessing game.

We tested a wide range of jugs against criteria including cost, ease of use, taste and environmental credentials to find the best water jugs to buy.

For more, visit our reviews section and find over 400 practical buyer’s guides offering unbiased advice on what equipment including reusable straws, water bottles and coffee cups.

Best water filter jugs to buy in 2020

BRITA Style water filter jug

Best all-round water filter jug

BRITA Style

Pros:

  • Simple and accurate filter indicator
  • Sleek looks
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Small reservoir
  • Confusing instructions

Star rating: 5/5

There’s a reason so many water jugs take BRITA filters as standard – BRITA have cornered the market, and their experience shows. The lid of this smart-looking jug is available in muted tones of blue, grey or green, the body is made of good-quality, sturdy materials, and it’s simple to use. The Style takes BRITA’s new Maxtra+ filters, which last around four weeks and cost £17.25 for three to replace.

The filter has a unique ‘traffic light’ indicator, which is removable so you can put the whole jug in the dishwasher, and it should last around five years. Each time you fill the jug, a light in the lid flashes green, orange or red, giving an accurate indication of how soon the filter will run out and giving you time to buy replacements. BRITA also runs a filter recycling scheme: head online, and you can search for your nearest participating store.

This model fits in a fridge door, but is also available in an XL 3.6-litre model if you’re looking for something larger – the reservoir of the 2.4-litre version only holds 1 litre water, so it needs fairly regular filling. With its filtered water tasting noticeably softer, this is a great all-rounder.

Specifications
Capacity
: 2.4l
Fits in fridge door: yes
Dishwasher safe: yes
Filter indicator: yes

ZeroWater 7-cup pitcher

Best water filter jug for silky-smooth water

ZeroWater 7-cup pitcher

Pros:

  • Very smooth water
  • Removes nearly all dissolvable solids
  • Great value

Cons:

  • Quite heavy
  • Variable filter life
  • Smaller reservoir

Star rating: 3.5/5

On a practical level, this jug is sound: good-looking, easy to fill and pour, with a generous 1.7-litre capacity that fits in a fridge door (a 12-cup model, with a handy pouring tap at the bottom, is also available) There’s also the option to pour water even when the filter is in use, which is useful as it’s quite slow – although it’s also a little top-heavy when there’s water in the tank. But it’s in its unique filtering system that this behemoth really steps up to the mark.

A five-layer filter promises to remove ‘virtually all dissolved solids,’ including lead. Whether that’s strictly necessary is up for debate, as dissolved solids can include naturally occurring minerals such as calcium. But using the TDS (total dissolved solids) meter included in the box to prove your water has a zero reading is satisfying, and tap water is noticeably much softer and smoother after filtering.

Uniquely, the life of the filter depends on how many solids are in your local tap water to begin with – when the reading on the TDS meter rises to 006, it’s time to buy a new filter, for just under £20. A typical reading in the UK is 51-200, so the jug will give you 95-150 litres of water.

Overall, whether this jug is for you rather depends on whether you’re sold on its solids-removing system or are looking for super-soft water – in which case it undeniably works a charm.

Specifications
Capacity
: 1.7l
Fits in fridge door: yes
Dishwasher safe: no
Filter indicator: yes, in the form of a TDS meter

Argos Home water filter jug

Best value water filter jug

Argos Home

Pros:

  • Fantastic value
  • Takes BRITA cartridges
  • Easy to fill

Cons:

  • Slow filtering
  • Basic design

Star rating: 4/5

This is a brilliant basic water jug, and for the price, it’s astonishing that it includes an indicator to tell you when to change your filter. Taking both BRITA Maxtra or own-brand filters, which are a bargain at £10 for three (we also tried it with a Maxtra+ filter and it worked), it’s a simple but sturdy model. The parts are easy to remove and there’s a handy tab to make sure the filter tank doesn’t come out with the lid when you remove it. It pours smoothly, isn’t too heavy, and is slim enough to fit in a fridge door.

Although it can hold 1.25 litres in total, the tank is a little on the small side, and it’s quite slow to filter, but these are small niggles at such a reasonable price. Using Argos own-brand filters, we couldn’t really taste any difference between filtered water and tap, but there’s always the option of choosing slightly pricier BRITA filters, which result in a marked taste difference, and those also have the advantage of being recyclable.

Specifications
Capacity
: 1.25l
Fits in fridge door: yes
Dishwasher safe: yes
Filter indicator: yes

Available from Argos (£6.70)

Wanda Carafe

Best water filter jug for the environment

Wanda Carafe

Pros:

  • Looks great
  • Filter is biodegradable
  • No plastic

Cons:

  • Filter less effective
  • Slow filtering
  • Expensive filters

Star rating: 4.5/5

This elegant, hand-made glass carafe comes with a charcoal bamboo filter that promises to remove taste and odours from tap water. It also adds a few minerals (including calcium, magnesium and potassium), and is better for the environment than using plastic filters, which aren’t always recyclable.

To use the bamboo filter, simply rinse it, add it to the jug, then fill with water. Filtering takes an hour – so this isn’t the best choice for anyone who wants their filtered water in a hurry – and the bamboo lasts a month, with a quick refresh in boiling water required after a fortnight. Once you’re done, the filter can be crushed and fed to plants, and replacements cost a smidgen under £10.

An undoubtedly attractive option, it fits comfortably in the door of a fridge, is dishwasher-safe (apart from the lid, which requires hand-washing) and holds 1.4 litres of water at a time. The relatively thin glass means it’s not ideal for anyone likely to bash it on the fridge door on its way in or out, but as long as it stays intact, it’ll look fantastic.

Specifications
Capacity
: 1.4l
Fits in fridge door: yes
Dishwasher safe: yes, apart from the lid
Filter indicator: no

Available from Wanda (£29.95)

pH REPLENISH glass alkaline water pitcher

Best water filter jug for multi-tasking

Pros:

  • Biodegradable filter
  • Long-lasting
  • Good looks
  • Travel pouch included

Cons:

  • Doesn’t fit in all fridge doors
  • Need to buy test strips separately to check pH

Star rating: 4.5/5

The pH REPLENISH jug, which raises the pH of tap and bottled water from around 6.5-7.5 to 9+, comes with a leaflet explaining the health benefits of drinking alkaline water. From warding off inflammation to creating a hostile environment for cancer cells, the claims are bold – and to date, not backed up by robust science.

The PH can be tested using drops bought separately. But even if you’re not convinced you need alkaline water in your life, the pH REPLENISH filter – a biodegradable pouch containing mineral balls made of eight different materials – also removes nasties including harmful bacteria, lead, aluminium and chlorine, as well as adding iron, zinc and calcium. Each filter lasts for an average of 106 days (replacements are around £24 for three, making them fairly good value), and they produce tap water that’s noticeably smoother with less of a tang.

As well as being easy to use – simply soak the pouch for six minutes before putting it inside the infuser – this is a good-looking and sturdy glass jug that can also be used for making fruit-infused and chilled water or, without the infuser, as a wine carafe. So even if you’re not sold on all the health claims, this is a pretty attractive option.

Specifications
Capacity
: 1l
Fits in fridge door: no
Dishwasher safe: yes
Filter indicator: no

BWT Penguin 2.7l water filter jug

Best water filter jug to match your kitchen

Pros:

  • Comes in a variety of colours
  • Sturdy
  • Enriches water with magnesium

Cons:

  • Short filter life
  • Opaque reservoir

Star rating: 4/5

Most water jugs come in shades of white and blue, but the Best Water Penguin comes in five different shades, including orange and aubergine, to suit your kitchen. With a capacity of 1.5 litres of filtered water and a nice large reservoir (meaning you won’t have to fill it up too often), this model is still slim enough to fit into a fridge door.

If you choose a coloured lid, you’ll have to wash it regularly to avoid limescale build-up, and it can’t be thrown into the dishwasher along with the body of the jug, thanks to an electronic indicator which tells you when to replace your filter in either litres or weeks. A springed lid that flips down as you fill the jug is handy, but quite small, and it can be tricky to get on and off, so this jug might not be suitable for frail hands.

The ‘patented magnesium technology’ of Best Water’s filters claims to enrich tap water with minerals, remove lead and copper, and give water an almost neutral pH – water tasted noticeably smoother after use. Filters don’t last very long, though – only four weeks – with a three-month supply costing £12.99.

Specifications
Capacity: 2.7l
Fits in fridge door: yes
Dishwasher safe: yes, apart from the lid
Filter indicator: yes

Available from BWT (£24.99)

Aquaphor Onyx water filter jug

Best water filter jug for accurate filter changes

Pros:

  • Attractive design
  • Good value
  • Large capacity

Cons:

  • Too big for a fridge door
  • Bulky
  • Filter requires soaking before use

Star rating: 4.5/5

Retailing at around £22, this jug is great value for money. Unlike many plastic water jugs, which tend to look a little clunky, this model has a classic rounded design, making it one of the best-looking jugs we tested.

We especially liked the unique filter indicator – while most are electronic, meaning the batteries will eventually run out, this has an analogue indicator triggered by opening the lid. Set it to zero when you attach a new filter, and it will click upwards each time you fill the jug, quantifying your actual use rather than indicating how long the filter has been in place. It’s simple, but clever.

It would have been nice to be able to see inside the reservoir to see how water filtering is coming along, but as the jug is larger than most, you won’t need to refill it quite so often – although that also means it won’t fit in an average fridge door. The filter removes irons and heavy metals, as well as adding magnesium, and water is noticeably smoother.

Specifications
Capacity
: 4.2l
Fits in fridge door: no
Dishwasher safe: yes, apart from the lid
Filter indicator: yes

BRITA Flow

Best water filter for heavy users

BRITA Flow

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Large capacity
  • Recyclable filters

Cons:

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Confusing instructions

Star rating: 5/5

This tank version of the classic BRITA Style jug holds an impressive 8.2 litres, making it ideal for any fans of BRITA’s jugs who are fed up with regular refills. A tap at the bottom pours smoothly, and locks into place so you don’t have to hold it down. In muted tones of blue and white, it looks sleek, and is perfect for perching on your kitchen counter – or inside a fridge if you have room – with a sliding panel for easy filling.

If your attempts to grapple with the instruction leaflet (which for some reason is designed like a giant, unwieldy road map) are unsuccessful, fitting the filter is fairly intuitive: instructions for prepping it are printed on the packet, and it’s very easy to install. Although this tank wouldn’t be suitable for frail users, it’s ideal if your household uses a lot of filtered water.

Specifications
Capacity
: 8.2l
Fits in fridge door: no
Dishwasher safe: yes, apart from lid
Filter indicator: yes

How we tested water filter jugs

We tested a representative sample of water filter jugs and scored them against the following criteria.

Filters
We looked at whether filters were easy to use, recyclable or biodegradable, how easy they were to buy, and how expensive they were to replace.

Taste
We compared filtered water against tap water in a hard-water area to see if there was a noticeable difference. We also looked into any health claims made about each jug’s filtering capabilities.

Quality
We judged how attractive the jugs were, how sturdy and durable, and their environmental impact, as well as testing them for leaks.

Ease of use
We tested practical elements such as removal of the lid and reservoir, pouring, lifting, and filling each jug to make sure there weren’t any fiddly or tricky parts. If the jug came with an indicator, we checked it was accurate and easy to use.

Cleaning
We looked at how easy the jug would be to clean – does it have an indicator that needs to be removed? Will it show up limescale? Are the removable parts tricky to separate?

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This review was last updated in August 2020. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.