The Best Water Filtration Systems

It can be downright stunning how much money you spend on bottled water if that’s your primary source of hydration. But drinking water directly from your tap can be an unpleasant task. The taste and smell can be off putting and for many, even though access to water is right in your own home, it still isn’t desirable. Having water come directly to your kitchen sink that you simple don’t want to use can be a frustrating fact. The good news is that most of the deterrents to you enjoying a glass of water or grabbing a shower without skin irritation can be mitigated by the proper water filtration system.

We reviewed dozens of water filtration systems to identify the best of the best. We looked at systems that attach to your water source and provide filtered water to the entire home and ones that you refill and take with you independently. There are filtration systems that you can simply attach to the piping under your sink and those that will give you a separate faucet specifically for drinking water. No matter what you’re looking for, we’ve found a water filtration system for you.

Top Pick
Buy Now
Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

For the best water filtration system for your home, try the Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

buy now
$281.47 USD

Early on in our research we could determine that the Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System was the clear winner of our top pick. With several stages of different filtration, not only will your water be filtered and clean, you can feel confident calling it pure.

The 5 Top-Rated Water Filtration Systems

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallHome Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System4.8
Runner Up4.7
Best Budget BuyFiltrete Maximum Under Sink Water Filtration System4.3
Best Pitcher Water FilterAquagear Water Filter Pitcher4.2
Best Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration SystemExpress Water 50 GPD Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System4.6

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

The Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System takes great pains to have a solution for the major concerns of Reverse Osmosis filtration systems. To prevent build-up of debris and stress of the housing units for the filter, they’ve established integrated housing and filters. That way it’s replaced annually and will not wear down and break and create expensive clean ups. Another problem that’s been solved with this filtration system is the slow flow. It uses larger fittings and a wider tube to allow a faster flow.

Should you ever need to work on the system, the all-in-one housing and filter will allow you to do so with significantly fewer struggles. It is not sealed and will not require super human strength to open. You will merely need to push it in place to seal it, leak-free. It’s meant to be taken off and put back on.

The numbers on this filter look so good, you’re going to think we’re making them up; but you can check Amazon yourself to see. There are nearly 800 customer reviews on this water filtration system and it’s earned a 4.8 star rating.

Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System Key Features:

  • 7 stages of filtration, purification and enhancement
  • Money back guarantee
  • Removes 98% of chemicals

Our Runner-Up Pick: iSpring 6-Stage Under Sink Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System

Runner Up
Buy Now
iSpring 6-Stage Under Sink Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System

For a thorough water filtration that will make sure your sink is giving you the best water available, pick up a iSpring 6-Stage Under Sink Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System.

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$193.35 USD

The iSpring 6-Stage Under Sink Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System is installed so easily you can definitely do it yourself. It has colored tubing so the instructions are easy to follow, but if you decide you’d rather not bother, don’t worry! You can even pay a little extra and have it expertly installed. The fixtures on this system are all leak free, but should the worst happen and a leak occur, there’s an early warning alarm. If water comes in contact with  metal prongs, an alarm will sound, allowing you to address the issue before your kitchen floods or irreparable damage is done.

The 6-stage filtration will give you 6 different filters for 6 different goals. With these filters, the end result is crisp and clean water that will be more satisfying than you’ve ever gotten from your kitchen. Keep in mind with each of these filters, you will need to replace them, eventually. Most of these will need replaced annually, save the reverse osmosis filter, which can stretch to two to three years easily.

There are nearly 2,000 customer reviews on Amazon for this water filtration system and it has an overall rating of 4.7. That’s certainly enough to build our confidence in the product.

iSpring 6-Stage Under Sink Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System Key Features:

  • 6-stage filtration system
  • Heavy-duty brushed nickle drinking faucet included
  • 3.2 gallon storage tank

Best Budget Pick: Filtrete Maximum Under Sink Water Filtration System

Best for Budget
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Filtrete Maximum Under Sink Water Filtration System

If you’re in the market for a water filtration system that won’t break the bank, look no further than the Filtrete Maximum Under Sink Water Filtration System.

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$44.09 USD

The Filtrete Maximum Under Sink Water Filtration System is installed under your sink and you’ll have no problem with this DIY. You’ll simply mount it to the wall, divert the water to filter through this filter and that’s all she wrote. You’ll replace the filter every 6 months or 1,500 gallons of water filtered through, and you can pick up a replacement filter using the same link as the filtration system itself.

It’s important to note: this is intended for potable water. This is not the hearty kind of filter that will take contaminated water and make it drinkable. But it will improve the quality and taste, and considering most tap water in the United States is potable, that standard will very likely apply to you.

This filtration system will run you under $40 and the filter replacements around $30. Considering there are well over 3,200 customer reviews giving it an overall rating of 4.3 stars, we think you’ll find it money very well spent.

Filtrete Maximum Under Sink Water Filtration System Key Features:

  • Removes 99% of lead, 99% microbial cysts, 97% chlorine
  • 3 filters choices available for different levels of filtration
  • 6 months use before replacing filter

Best Pitcher Water Filter: Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher

Best Pitcher
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Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher

Make sure you’re getting the best tasting water with the Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher.

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$71.95 USD

The Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher is a perfect first step if you want to try to improve the quality and taste of your drinking water. The downside of most water filtration systems is that while they may clean your water, they are generally room temperature; at best they’re just slightly cooler by coming from the ground (if you have a well, especially). The beauty of water filters in pitcher form is that you’ll be able to store the water in the refrigerator, which is ideal for those of us who prefer ice cold water.

For any filtration system, you’ll want to know how well your filter holds up to testing. As unfortunate as it is, there are ample opportunities for real life testing in the world and this filter has used one of the best known contaminated water sources in recent news. This water filter significantly reduced the lead in the water they tested in Flint, Michigan.

This pitcher water filter has nearly 1,500 customer reviews and an overall rating of 4.2 stars on Amazon, making it a safe bet on quality and satisfaction.

Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher Key Features:

  • Meets or exceeds NSF Standards 42 and 53 for contaminant reduction
  • 100% BPA-free, 100% recyclable and 100% vegan
  • Lifetime guarantee

Best Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System: Express Water 50 GPD Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

Best Reverse Osmosis System
Buy Now
Express Water 50 GPD Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

For a reverse osmosis water filter that will keep your home’s water pure and clean, pick up a Express Water 50 GPD Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System.

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$160.49 USD

The Express Water 50 GPD Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System has a fast flow of 0.8 gallons per minute, so you won’t need to wait around patiently for a glass of water. And considering it removes over 100 major contaminants, including lead, bacteria and chlorine, that’s an impressive speed.

If you use this water instead of buying bottled water, then this system will pay for itself in less than six months. In fact, you’ll even get the extra savings of the first replacement of each filter included with your purchase. The filter housings are double sealed so you won’t need to worry about leaking and installation is made all the easier with color coordinated tubing.

With around 500 customer reviews on Amazon and an overall rating of 4.6 stars, you can be confident this purchase is a good investment. And for under $200, we think you’ll agree, it’s well worth the money.

Express Water 50 GPD Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System Key Features:

  • 5-stage filtration system
  • Removes 99% of contaminants
  • 1-year warranty

Who Should Buy a Water Filtration System

If you’ve ever had your water tested and found undesirables contained within, then you’ll want to look very closely at a few filtration systems. While your water will likely have no dangerous contaminants, that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. The most common particulates that you’ll find in your water that will need to be filtered are lead, chlorine and fluoride. The latter two chemicals are added to the water during their treatment process and while that isn’t necessarily unsafe, it may be less than desirable for you. And of course you want to avoid consuming lead; the side effects are drastic and vary from lowered IQ to death.

Should you have skin and stomach sensitivities or an autoimmune disease, a filtration system will definitely be an investment you’ll need to make. For example, if you have hard water that has too much magnesium or calcium and your sensitive stomach can’t handle it, you may find yourself with stomach pains; nothing to cause you to worry but enough to cause occasional discomfort. For skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, unfiltered water will be more likely to irritate skin, particularly in children. Just as you use gentle laundry detergents on your child’s clothes, you’ll want to filter harsh chemicals out of his water, too. While some refrigerators, such as side-by-side refrigerators or French door refrigerators, are available with in-door water filters and ice makers, not all do, and they’re not practical for dispensing large quantities of filtered water – like you might need for cooking.

Another substantial motivator in establishing a water filtration system is if your water tastes or smells bad. If you don’t like the taste of your water, well water or municipality-supplied, use of a water filter can change that. There is plenty you can’t change about your water supply without large upfront investments, but if you don’t like the taste of your water, there’s a good chance you can change that with the right filter.

Top Pick
Buy Now
Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

For the best water filtration system for your home, try the Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

buy now
$281.47 USD

Important Features to Consider

A water filtration system should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a water filtration systems:

  • Physical vs. active filtration systems. A physical filtration system is good if your goal is to rid your water of sediment; silt, sand, and the like. Certainly this will be a great if you can see a physical presence of these things in your water. A physical filter will act as a strainer, holding the sediment back. You won’t be able to see the result, but it will remain contained within the filter, which makes replacing the filter on a regular schedule all the more important. An active filtration system will absorb parts or all of a mineral, or apply another mineral or chemical to the water that will alter the pollutants. Carbon is likely the type of activated filtration you’ve encountered most, and for good reason: it will very effectively eliminate at least 81 chemicals, be effective in 30 more and moderately effective in 22 besides that. So it can eliminate up to 133 chemicals in some varying degree of efficiency.
  • Reverse osmosis. A reverse osmosis filter will use a semi-permeable membrane to separate water from pollutants. Before going through the reverse osmosis filtration, though, it will need to have gone through a physical filtration, too. After all is said and done, the water you’ll be using will have had 92-99% of the beneficial minerals removed, as well, so keep that in mind. It’s also important to note that anywhere from 10% to 50% of the water filtered through a reverse osmosis filter is produced as wastewater. That means you’re likely to go through a lot more water with these filters.
  • Ion exchange. An ion exchange will, essentially, “balance” your water’s ions. This process is often used to soften your water, but also to “de-mineral-ize” it. Ions are molecules with a positive or negative charge. In order to filter the water, the ion exchange filter will “exchange” unwanted ions with other, more desirable ions of the same charge. While this is an effective way to eliminate organics, it will not effectively remove bacteria, so if you have a problem with that in your water, you’ll want to look at either another system entirely, or find a set up that will allow you to utilize multiple filters.
  • Additional faucets. You may decide the best way to get high quality drinking water permanently will be to install your own drinking fountain of a faucet. This is particularly appealing if you drink a lot of water (too much to make the pitcher tempting) and there’s nothing particularly wrong or unsafe with your tap water. You can do dishes with the tap, but you’d like a better and cleaner taste. But keep in mind it’s not as simple as the other types of water filtration systems (I.E. whole house, under sink, etc). To install a new faucet, barring any kind of rigging the faucet a way it isn’t intended, you’ll need to drill into your counter or the sink. And while you may like a nice drink of water, you’ll need to weigh if it’s worth the little extra home remodel.
  • Whole house vs. independent systems. Whole house filters are installed at the source of your home’s water and operate much the same as pretty much any other. You place the filter along the flow of water, making sure all water passes through it. An independent system is one that will go under your sink and only effect the water there, or one you’ll fill separately and store on the counter, for example. This could be anything from the “water cooler” or the pitcher. Keep in mind when comparing that a lot of your choices will be best made based on your specific water composition. For example, if your water has a lot of sediment it needs to have eliminated before you want to bathe in it, a whole house system is best. But if you just want your water to taste more refreshing, you can stick with an independent. The cost difference in each type is based on the technology it uses, rather than type or brand. A reverse osmosis filter will be more than a physical filter, whether it’s in a whole house filter or a counter top one.
  • Pitchers. If you’re not really worried about the contents of your water, but you just don’t like the taste very well, picking up a pitcher that will filter your drinking water is ideal. You may not want to choose this if you go through a lot of drinking water, because refilling constantly can get a touch annoying, but it does have the added bonus of being able to pop it in the fridge and have yourself a cold glass of filtered water.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a water filtration system work?

There are two primary methods of filtration: physical and active. At it’s most basic explanation, physical filtration will physically hold back the contaminants. They will filter things like sediment, dirt, silt, sand, etc. This type of filtration works a bit like a strainer. Large particulates are caught while the water passes through, clean of those contaminants. Active filtration will change the contaminant in some way, making it easier to filter out. Different types of active filtration systems will target different undesirable matter. For example, the three most common forms of active filtration are Carbon, Greensand and Ion Exchange. Carbon specializes in filtering chlorine, Greensand at eliminating iron, magnesium, and hydrogen sulfide while Ion Exchanges ensure your water has the proper balance of negative and positive ions.

There is an additional “step” that can go a long way in purifying your water: reverse osmosis. After the physical and active filtration processes, the water can then be passed through a reverse osmosis membrane that will catch even more contaminants. It will remove virtually everything; viruses and bacteria, but also any nutrients. Some argue that weakens our immune systems, but keep in mind for sensitive stomachs or the immune-compromised, this may be necessary.

How often do you need to change the water filter?

The first thing you should do after installation of a water filtration system (or maybe even before purchase) is check how frequently you’ll need to replace the filters. Each manufacturer has different standards and you may find yours are more relaxed or strict, but you’ll always want to adhere to a product’s owner’s manual for operation. And the more you use your water, the more often you’ll need to change the filter, as filter are a product with a lifespan based on wear and tear, so to speak. A family of five won’t need to change their whole house water filter as much as a family of two. Some manufacturers say you’ll want to change your filter every 40 gallons – for some families that could be once a month for other’s it could be the better part of a year. Depending on the frequency of use, you can expect to change your filter every few months. Of course, the type of system you’re getting will help you determine that, as well. If you just have a pitcher (change approximately every 2 months), you’re certainly looking at a different frequency than the whole house system (change as little as every six months).

Is filtering tap water necessary?

You may be surprised. Generally, we think of the water in the United States to be safe; and for most residents it is. According to the National Resources Defense Council, 85% of the country has what we may call “100% safe” water. In fact though, in 2015, 77 million Americans used drinking water from systems that violated federal protections. Millions more drank water that was untested, creating even more possible problems. Depending on your area and source of water, testing the water may be a required part of any home purchase during the initial inspection. We highly recommend requesting a copy of that test to determine for yourself if you need to filter your tap water. Should you be in an area where those tests aren’t required, you can pick up your own water testing kit and check it out yourself.

If you’re concerned with what your municipality’s water contains, you can search for your zip code on the Environmental Working Group’s site.

How do I know if I need a water filtration system?

You can test your water or check the EWG’s site to see what kind of particulates are in your water, but the most obvious (and cheapest) way to tell is by observation. You don’t need a sixth sense, your regular senses will very likely tell you if you need a filtration system by taste, smell, and sight. Taste and smell may be obvious – filter the water if it tastes or smells bad or wrong. Sight, you’ll want to use to watch out for spotty dishes with a high build up of dissolved minerals. Beyond that, you may be able to see a cloudiness in your water (or ice cubes) that will clue you in to something amiss.

If you can’t tell your water needs filtered by your senses or an internet search, but you’re still worried, test. When in doubt; test, test, test.

Other Water Filtration Systems We Reviewed

Top Pick
Buy Now
Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

For the best water filtration system for your home, try the Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

buy now
$281.47 USD

We looked at 20 other water filtration systems. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best water filtration systems list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your home. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Sink Addition Water Filtration Systems

APEC Top Tier Alkaline Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System

APEC Top Tier Alkaline Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System

This water filtration system is easily installed and comes with lifetime support, should you need any assistance for the life of the system.

Key Features:

  • 6-stage water filtration
  • Feed Water Pressure: 40-85 psi
  • 3-year extended manufacturer warranty

APEC WFS-1000 Super Capacity Premium Quality 3 Stage Under-Sink Water Filter System

APEC WFS-1000 Super Capacity Premium Quality 3 Stage Under-Sink Water Filter System

This water filtration system comes with its own faucet and a 1-year satisfaction guarantee.

Key Features:

  • Includes 5-ft food grade tubing
  • 100% lead-free chrome faucet
  • Lifetime support

Brondell H2O+ Coral UC300 Three-Stage under Counter Water Filtration System

Brondell H2O Coral UC300 Three-Stage under Counter Water Filtration System

The filters on this system are long lasting and will only need replaced about once a year.

Key Features:

  • Twist and seal easy replacement
  • LED light on faucet replacement reminder
  • 3-stage filtration

Brondell RO Circle Water Saving Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

Brondell RO Circle Water Saving Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

This additional faucet will install next to your sink while the filtration system resides under the sink, cleanly out of the way.

Key Features:

  • 4-stage filtration
  • 3 filters need replaced every 6 months; the RO filter, every 2 years
  • Lead and BPA free

Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

Olympia Water Systems OROS-50 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

With a 3.2 gallon water storage tank, you’ll very likely be able to use this water as much as you want without worrying about it refilling.

Key Features:

  • 5-stage water filtration
  • 50 gallons per day
  • Feed water temperature 50-100 degrees F

iSpring US31 3-Stage Under Sink High Capacity Tankless Drinking Water Filtration System

Spring US31 3-Stage Under Sink High Capacity Tankless Drinking Water Filtration System

This water filtration system will filter your water quickly enough that a tank isn’t even necessary, making it an easy install with minimal footprint.

Key Features:

  • 3-stage water filtration; 2 carbon filters and a sediment filter
  • Replace filters 6-12 months
  • Lifetime support from manufacturer

Air Water Life Aqua Ionizer Deluxe 9.0

Air Water Life Aqua Ionizer Deluxe 90

You can customize your water so much with this filtration system that it’s hard to imagine something for which it can’t improve your tap water.

Key Features:

  • Over 1,000 gallons of water between replacement filters
  • 7 water settings
  • Water ion exchanger

CleanWater4Less® Countertop Water Filtration System

CleanWater4Less® Countertop Water Filtration System

This is a great option for your cleaning your fruits and vegetables, prepping your coffee or even preparing infant formula bottles.

Key Features:

  • Stores on counter top, connects directly to your faucet
  • No replacement filters
  • Filters 10,000 gallons of water

Watts WP500313 2-Stage Undercounter Lead, Cyst & VOC Reducing Drinking Water System

Watts WP500313 2-Stage Undercounter Lead Cyst & VOC Reducing Drinking Water System

This water filtration system is the basic kit but you will still need to purchase the additional faucet in order to use.

Key Features:

  • Reduces chlorine taste and color
  • Filters up to 600 gallons of water
  • Replacement filters every 6 months

Woder 10K-Gen3 Ultra High Capacity Direct Connect Water Filtration System

Woder 10K-Gen3 Ultra High Capacity Direct Connect Water Filtration System

This filter is designed for water that’s been properly treated and potable; ideally municipally provided water.

Key Features:

  • Fast flow; 2 gallons per minute
  • Removes over 99.99% of contaminants
  • Lasts minimum of 3 years or 10,000 gallons

Whole House Water Filtration Systems

Culligan Whole House Heavy Duty Filtration System

Culligan Whole House Heavy Duty Filtration System

This filter mounts onto the wall and with a 1″ inlet and outlet, you’ll be able to connect this filter to your water source with ease.

Key Features:

  • Includes water bypass valve
  • Protects appliances from sediment
  • Ideal for residences

DuPont WFPF13003B Universal Whole House Water Filtration System

DuPont WFPF13003B Universal Whole House 15000-Gallon Water Filtration System

You can reduce the sediment in your home or office with this filter, extending the life of your appliances.

Key Features:

  • 3/4″ inlet and outlets
  • Filters 15,000 gallons
  • 3-year limited warranty

Hahn Whole House Water Filtration System and Descaler

Hahn Whole House Water Filtration System and Descaler

This water filtration system will remove herbicides, pesticides and other chemical compounds for safer water for your whole house.

Key Features:

  • Activated carbon filter
  • Removes 97% of chlorine in regular tap water
  • 7-10 gpm flow rate

Pentek Whole House Water Filtration System

Pentek Whole House Water Filtration System

Due to the strength of this compact water filtration system, it would work just as well in a home as in a commercial environment.

Key Features:

  • Clear design for visual tracking
  • 1, 2, 3, or 4 pack available
  • 3/4″ input/output

Independent Water Filtration Systems

Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System

Alexapure Pro Stainless Steel Water Filtration System

This is similar to a water pitcher but on a much larger scale and is ideal for offices or parties where you’d like to have your provided water clean and tasting wonderful.

Key Features:

  • Removes up to 99.9999% of 200+ water impurities
  • 2.25 gallon capacity
  • Patented gravity block core filter with hybrid ceramic shell

AquaTru Countertop Water Filter Purification System

AquaTru Countertop Water Filter Purification System

This is likely the least complicated Reverse Osmosis filtration system available and for the ease of just popping it on your counter and filling it, it’s well worth a good look.

Key Features:

  • Removes thousands of contaminants
  • No plumbing or installation requires
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed

Berkey BK4X2-BB Big Berkey Stainless Steel Water Filtration System

Berkey BK4X2-BB Big Berkey Stainless Steel Water Filtration System

These filters may last up to 10 years; but owner’s manual suggests you clean them every six months for optimum performance.

Key Features:

  • 2.1 gallon capacity
  • 3,000 gallons per filter element
  • Stainless steel construction

Brita Large 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher with Filter

Brita Large 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher with Filter

You can choose to order this water filter with one replacement filter or up to three.

Key Features:

  • Reduces chlorine taste and odor, copper, mercury, and cadmium impurities
  • Replacements ever 40 gallons or about 2 months
  • BPA and lead free

Hskyhan Alkaline Water Pitcher

Hskyhan Alkaline Water Pitcher

Not only will you get an 18 month warranty with this pitcher, but you’ll also enjoy 24/7 customer support, as well.

Key Features:

  • 7-stage filtration
  • 2 filters included
  • 10 cup capacity

Waterdrop Extream Long-Lasting Water Filter Pitcher

Waterdrop Extream Long-Lasting 200 Gallons 10-Cup Water Filter Pitcher

Along the top of this pitcher is a electronic reminder to make sure you never forget to change the filter.

Key Features:

  • 200 gallons, or 90 days filtered water
  • 10 cup water capacity
  • 0.5 gallon per minute fast flow

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Jenny Jarvis