In the UK alone, more than 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are used each year, with the average person using at least three bottles a week.
Water filter jugs, from the most basic and budget to the advanced, are great ways of reducing plastic consumption in the home and office, will help you save pennies in the process.
While tap water across the UK tends to be of a high standard, filtered water does remove a whole host of elements that are best avoided, from chlorine and limescale to heavy metals such as mercury, lead and dioxins.
Countertop water filter jugs vary, from the cheap, cheerful and functional to the more advanced, which come with water testing devices.
When it comes to design, there are some stylish and sleek new kids on the block, which use charcoal as their main filtration mechanism. Depending on preference, there is something for everyone.
When testing these water filter jugs, key criteria included: size, price, effectiveness, ease of use, filter replacement, and the taste of the filtered water.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers , but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Black + Blum eau carafe: £34.95, Black + Blum
If you’re a fan of Black + Blum’s portable water bottles, you’ll definitely want this jug for your home or office. Like its portable counterpart, this hand-blown glass carafe adds minerals such as calcium, and removes chemicals such as chlorine, from tap water. On top of looking the part, this sleek and elegant carafe does the job at hand with ease.
It comes with a binchotan active charcoal filter – just pop it in the carafe and water is ready to drink within an hour – which has a convenient six-month shelf life (you just need to boil it in hot water after three months). The carafe is easy to pour and hold, thanks to its ergonomic design, and slimline, so it easily fits into the fridge door. Just keep an eye on the charcoal filter in case it falls out while you’re pouring.
Brtita marella water filter jug, 2.4L: £16, Tesco
The most slimline of the classic water filter models we tested, this filter delivers great-tasting water at an affordable price, and should fit snugly into most fridge doors. We loved its smooth-grip handle and flip-top, which made for ease of pouring and filling. Plus, lid aside, it’s conveniently dishwasher safe.
In spite of costing only £16, the jug includes an electronic memo indicator, which helpfully alerts you when the filter cartridges need changing (after approximately four weeks, and they’re recyclable). This jug ticks all of the boxes and comes in a variety of shades to match your kitchen decor (we opted for pastel blue).
ZeroWater 5-stage water filter jug with TDS meter, 1.7L: £24.99, Lakeland
In this jug, tap water goes through five stages of filtration thanks to its in-built gravity-fed water filtration system. This means the jug is able to remove 99 per cent of lead and fluoride, plus chemical compounds such as nitrates and chlorine.
The jug comes with a handy TDS digital meter, which measures the level of dissolved solids in water, and also denotes when filters need to be replaced (after approximately 150 litres of tap water). The water from this jug came out top in our blind taste test, and, according to the digital meter, had the lowest level of dissolved solids out of all of the filters tested.
Soma 10 cup water filter pitcher with oak handle, 2.2L: £49.85, Amazon
From the makers of the Bobble and Corkcicle water bottles, Soma is definitely one for the design conscious, but it’s not all style over matter. This model has impressive eco-credentials too. While the body is made from shatterproof BPA-free plastic and the handle comes from sustainable oak, the filter is made from coconut shell carbon and a plant-based coating.
On the practical side, the jug removes zinc, chlorine, mercury and copper from tap water and the filter lasts for 180 litres. This particular model might be too big for some fridges, so if space is an issue, look to Soma’s 6 cup water filter pitcher.
Wanda carafe, 1.3L: £29.95, Wanda
This design- and eco-led water jug from London-based start-up, Wanda, contains a porous charcoal filter, made from 100 per cent bamboo charcoal, which traps impurities and filters tap water for up to a month. While the filter may not last as long as other models, it is 100 per cent compostable, so you can just scatter it in the garden once done. Handily, the carafe can also be popped in the dishwasher. The filtered water came second in our taste test.
Aqua Optima oria water filter, 2.8L jug with one month filter: £12.99, Robert Dyas
Well-designed and functional, this is surprisingly affordable considering it contains a five-step filtration system and a 30-day filter. While it can hold up to 1.4L of water, it feels surprisingly compact, and should fit snugly in your fridge door. One of its best features is its pour-through lid, which saves you from having to fiddle about removing the lid each time you want to re-fill.
Phox alkaline water filter, 3.5L: £39.99, Phox
Containing a filter which should see you through 350L of water, this large capacity jug is one for the family – especially if you have a roomy fridge. Tap water goes through a five-stage filtration system, which contains natural coconut shell active carbon, and produces a water with a PH of between 8 and 9.5, which is said to help in sports recovery and to neutralise acid build up in the body. A second model, V2, is being launched this August, which will feature an innovative reusable cartridge. Watch this space.
The verdict: Water filter jugs
For its durability, ease, effectiveness and eye-pleasing good looks, Black + Blum’s eau carafe comes out top, especially as its charcoal filter only needs changing every six months. If you’re after a classic water filter jug, Brita’s marella comes highly recommended: it’s slimline, budget-friendly, easy-to-use and produces filtered water that could rival any plastic bottle, while the water from ZeroWater’s filter jug came out top in our taste test results, and had the lowest reading on a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter.