By Melissa Segrest
Green Right Now

Ready to banish the plastic water bottle?  You can choose to drink water straight from the tap, which the federal government says is largely safe, or you can filter that tap water for contaminants and chemicals, and to freshen the taste.

If you choose to filter you be joining an apparent migration away from disposable bottled water to more efficient home filtering. The estimated revenue for the water-filter pitcher/carafe market last year was $183 million (excluding Walmart), a 24 percent growth rate since 2005, according to one research group.

There are at least a dozen systems to choose from, starting with market-leader Brita (owned by Clorox), which has dominated the water-filter pitcher market in the U.S. for years, and including number two seller, PUR, and an array of other big and boutique brands. All offer a variety of styles, safeguards, bells and whistles.

Here are the highlights of 12 brands on the market:


There are 17 styles of Brita water-filter pitchers, ranging from the Slim Pitcher (holds 5 cups, $11) to the larger Deluxe (10 cups, $25) to the Grand (10 cups, $32) which comes in four color options. The Grand (and nine other styles) has an electronic filter-change indicator, and many of Brita’s pitchers have flip-top lids and soft-grip handles.

Brita's Ultramax dispenser holds 18 cups

Brita says its filters last about two months and filter about 40 gallons. It says each filter can save as many as 300 plastic water bottles. One filter is $8, and a six-pack is $38.

Its larger countertop model is the Ultramax Dispenser, which holds 18 cups and can fit in the refrigerator with a bit of extra space, $42.

Brita says its pitcher is BPA free and its filters remove bad tastes/odors, chlorine and the heavy metals copper, cadmium and mercury.

Recycling of filters has been an issue for the green consumer, so in 2008 Brita launched a recycling program where consumers can drop off their filter at an area Whole Foods Market or mail them back to the company.