10 best water filter jugs to quench thirst and reduce your plastic usage

·18-min read
Not only do jugs improve the taste of tap water, but they often work out cheaper than buying individual bottles (iStock/The Independent)
Not only do jugs improve the taste of tap water, but they often work out cheaper than buying individual bottles (iStock/The Independent)

Having filtered water on hand means buying less bottled water, which is a huge benefit in itself, but did you know it also tastes much better than the H20 that comes out of your tap? It can also even produce better-quality ice cubes for your chilled drinks.

Although you can splash out on some premium water filter jugs, there are plenty of very affordable models that do the job well, and we couldn’t detect any real noticeable differences in flavour between the filtered waters in our tests. So, to find the jug that’s perfect for you, there’s a few simple things to consider...

First, it’s worth checking the jug’s capacity to ensure it meets your daily water needs. The quoted figure may indicate the volume of the jug overall, however, the figure may refer only to the capacity of the carafe, which is actually the number you need to pay most attention to, as that’s the maximum amount of filtered water you’ll have in your jug at any one time.

Your next consideration will be the water filter cartridges, which although are nowhere near as expensive as their printer cousins, are still an additional cost. You’ll want to ensure you’re getting the optimum use out of the filters, so knowing exactly when to replace them is important. Or if you want to cut down on the amount of plastic bottled water you buy, you may want to consider a jug with a refillable filter compartment

The design of the jug you choose will also be an important consideration. If you prefer to drink chilled water, look for a slimline model that will fit into your fridge door, or that isn’t too tall to fit onto a fridge shelf. If the way the jug looks on your dining table is more important, you may want to spend a little more on one of the more aesthetically pleasing models.

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How we tested

Each jug in this round-up had its own filter reminder system, ranging from a simple manually adjustable sliding scale built into the lid, to an LED sensor and even free downloadable apps. Each worked well, so it’s really down to personal preference.

We set up each jug following the manufacturer’s instructions and filtered water with it multiple times. We timed how long the jug took to filter 1l of water and compared the flavour of the filtered water to tap water. We assessed the design of the jug to see how effortless it was to fill, and how its weight affected ease of use. We also tested to see if the jug would fit into a fridge door, and its general robustness of construction. Finally, we took into consideration its aesthetic appeal.

Manufacturers make various claims about what their jugs filter from water, including chlorine, limescale, lead and pesticides. Our testing didn’t extend to verifying those claims, but we can say that all the jugs we tested did noticeably improve the flavour of the water that came out of our tap. Read on to find out what else we found…

The best water filter jugs for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Brita style water filter jug: £31.99, Brita.co.uk

  • Best budget buy – Aqua optima oria fridge water filter jug: £11.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for saving the planet – Phox v2 glass water filter: £39.99, Phoxwater.com

  • Best for families – Aquaphor onyx water filter jug: £15.27, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for style – Larq pitcher purevis: £135, Livelarq.com

  • Best for health fanatics – Biocera alkaline water filter jug: £59.75, Water-for-health.co.uk

  • Best for those who appreciate solid engineering – Aarke purifier: £100, Aarke.com

  • Best for getting the job done – Zerowater 7 cup: £24.99, Zerowater.co.uk

  • Best for getting back to basics – Amazon basics water filter jug: £14, Aamazon.co.uk

  • Best for when you need filter water fast – Klar fluoride water filter pitcher: £44.99, Klarwater.com

Brita style water filter jug

Best: Overall

Rating: 9/10

  • Size: 26.5cm x 27.5cm x 11cm

  • Weight with filter: ‎816g

  • Features: 2.4l capacity (1l reservoir, 1.4l carafe); LED smart light filter-replacement indicator; softens water and reduces lead and copper and chlorine

  • Accessories: One filter cartridge

  • Pros: Dishwasher safe

  • Cons: Not as fast to filter as some other jugs

With the greatest of respect to all other brands included in this round-up, Brita may be the first name that springs to mind when you think of water filter jugs – and the style is a good example of why.

Apart from the removable LED smart light in the lid (the traffic-light system glows green when the filter’s working at optimum level; yellow when it needs replacing soon; and red when it’s time to fit a new filter), the slimline design means it will fit into any fridge door, and the comfortable handle makes it easy to pour. It’s also dishwasher safe.

A hinged pale-blue panel in the lid with an etched-in Brita logo looks smart and can be flipped open with your thumb to allow one-handed filling from the tap. At 4 mins and 28 secs, the Brita style doesn’t filter as fast as some of the other jugs on this list, but we loved the no-nonsense, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin design and the affordable price that went along with it.

Buy now £31.99, Brita.co.uk

Aqua optima oria fridge water filter jug

Best: Budget buy

Rating:  9/10

  • Size: 27cm x 25.6cm x 12cm

  • Weight with filter: 748g

  • Features: 2.8l capacity (1.4l reservoir, 1.4l carafe); reduces chlorine, limescale, herbicides, pesticides, lead and heavy metals

  • Accessories: One five-step filter; free downloadable filter-replacement reminder app

  • Pros: Fastest filter on the block

  • Cons:  Not exactly a looker

This budget-priced jug sped through the task of filtering a litre of water in just 90 seconds, making it one of the quickest on our list. It’s quick to fill, too – there’s no need to open the jug; just slide open the slats in the lid using the thumb-operated button and away you go.

A hinged cover protects the pouring spout to reduce exposure to air and helps ensure a steady pour, which is further enhanced by the sturdy handle that’s easy to grip. The lightweight jug fits in the fridge door too.

Admittedly, this model’s not going to win any beauty contests, but at this price, who cares?

Buy now £11.99, Amazon.co.uk

Phox v2 glass water filter

Best: For saving the planet

Rating:  7/10

  • Size: 30cm x 12cm x 12cm

  • Weight with filter: 1,217kg

  • Features: 2.25l capacity (0.75l reservoir 1.5l carafe); refillable filter cartridge with choice of filter packs; reduces lead, copper and chlorine; dishwasher safe

  • Accessories: One filter refill pack; free downloadable app

  • Pros: Made in the UK

  • Cons: Quirky design may not appeal to everyone

No other water filter jug we tested looked quite like the Phox v2. We loved the distinctive modernist design, with its turquoise-detailed black plastic reservoir, which screws onto what is basically an oversized jam jar, complete with stabilising rubber base.

Not everyone will appreciate its unconventional looks but what is easy to love is the refillable filter cartridge, which cuts out the need for single-use plastic filter cartridges. There’s a choice of two filter packs: the Alkaline pack produces water with a pH level of 8-9 compared to the usual average for tap water of 7, and adds magnesium and sodium, which Phox says helps with acid reflux and aids sports recovery. Plus, the clean pack softens the water, which makes for better-tasting tea and coffee.

The relatively slow filter time of 7 mins and 27 secs per litre, and the fact that the jug wouldn’t fit in our fridge door or on the shelf, were slight downsides. However, the app-based filter-reminder indicator, decent capacity, sustainability credentials and affordable price more than made up for these slight quibbles.

Buy now £39.99, Phoxwater.com

Aqua optima oria

Best: For families

Rating:  8/10

  • Size: 18.5cm x 18.5cm x 27.7cm

  • Weight with filter: 863g

  • Features: 4.2l capacity (1.3l reservoir, 2.9l carafe); cartridge-life indicator; reduces water hardness, chlorine, heavy metals, iron, pesticides

  • Accessories: One filter cartridge

  • Pros: Filters quickly

  • Cons: Won’t fit in your fridge

With a capacity of nearly three litres and a filter time of just 1 min and 40 secs per litre, this roomy jug will meet the daily needs of a thirsty family. The downside to all that space is that this jog won’t fit in your fridge door or even on the shelf of a large American-style fridge freezer.

Its traditional waisted design, however, means it won’t look out of place on the Sunday lunch table, and you can always plan ahead and make a batch of filtered-water ice cubes to plonk into the jug later.

The easy-to-read mechanical dial built into the lid shows when you need to replace the filter, while the flip-up lid made it easy to fill the jug from the tap, and the comfortable handle meant it was easy to pour.

Buy now £15.27, Amazon.co.uk

Larq pitcher purevis

Best: For style councillors

Rating: 9/10

  • Size: Height 25.4cm x 23.8cm x 13cm

  • Weight with filter: 1,356g

  • Features: 1.9l capacity (pitcher only); reduces lead, chlorine, mercury, cadmium, copper, zinc, arsenic, asbestos, volatile organic compounds, bacteria and viruses

  • Accessories: One filter; free app (iPhone only)

  • Pros: Chic design with premium feel

  • Cons: Relatively expensive

This very stylish jug will look perfect in the state-of-the-art, open-plan kitchen in your minimalist penthouse apartment overlooking the Thames. What’s that? You don’t live in a penthouse apartment overlooking the Thames. Never mind, the Larq will add a dash of panache to any dining table. Everything feels premium about the jug, from its sleek design (we loved the dark Monaco blue version) with its etched-in logo to the high-quality BPA- and phthalate-free plastic construction.

We also enjoyed the built-in pulsating light show as a band of LED lights at the base of the reservoir and the lid logo glowing blue as the water’s filtered. But these lights aren’t just for entertainment – according to Larq, the jug’s two-step filtration process features a plant-based filter cartridge followed by UVC ultraviolet light filtration via a rechargeable ‘wand’, which it says reduces bacteria in the water.

On a more prosaic level, we liked the lid’s ‘fill flap’ feature, which made filling from the tap easy, and resulted in a steady, even pour through the mostly covered spout.

Weighing in at over 3kg at full capacity, the jug did feel a little heavy as it filled up, and at 5 mins and 37 secs, it wasn’t the fasted we tested, but the flavour of the water was excellent, tasting clean and bright.

Buy now £135.00, Livelarq.com

Biocera alkaline water filter jug

Best: For health fanatics

Rating:  6/10

  • Size: 27cm x 26cm x 12cm

  • Weight with filter: 775g

  • Features: 2.8l capacity (1.3l reservoir, 1.5l carafe); reduces chlorine, metals, microplastics, common pharmaceuticals and hormones; increases water pH levels and lowers oxidation reduction potential

  • Accessories: Two filters

  • Pros: Lightweight and slimline design fits easily in fridge door

  • Cons:  Slow filtration time; needs to be washed by hand

With its grey lid and handle detailing, the Biocera alkaline might look a little sombre and unassuming, but there’s still lots to love, despite the understated exterior. For starters, it’s slim enough to fit into your fridge door and lightweight enough to be easily used, even when full. We particularly appreciated the contoured handle that allowed for a comfortable and sure grip, and also liked the thumb-operated slide-away lid panel, which allows for filling without removing the lid.

The panel reveals the manual 30-day filter-replacement reminder indicator, which although a tad fiddley to use, is perfect for technophobes who’d rather not have to rely on a phone app.

The Biocera alkaline did have the slowest filtration time out of the jugs we tested at a rather sedate 9 minutes per litre. But if you’re in no rush and you like the idea of having alkaline water to hand, then this could be the jug for you.

Buy now £59.75, Water-for-health.co.uk

Aarke purifier

Best: For those who appreciate solid engineering

Rating: 9/10

  • Size: 27.5cm x 17.1cm x 12cm

  • Weight with filter: 1,244 g

  • Features: 2.36l capacity (1.18l reservoir, 1.18l carafe); refillable steel-filter cartridge; filters chlorine, copper, lead, limescale

  • Pros: Glass and stainless-steel construction

  • Cons: Filling the filter cartridge can be a bit messy

The glass and stainless-steel construction of this stylish premium jug felt sturdy and built to last. We also liked design details such as the detachable rubber base, which allowed the jug to sit firmly on a work surface or dining table (it’s attractive enough to grace any dinner party), and the foldaway handle on the top of the steel filter cartridge that makes it easy to remove. The mechanical refill-reminder dial built in to the underside of the lid was a neat touch, too.

The base of the cartridge screws off, leaving a wide aperture to load in the filter granules, making the job of refilling the filter simple. However, we still managed to end up with quite a few stray granules sprinkled over the work top.

The cylindrical design meant that the jug wouldn’t fit in our fridge door but we were able to store it on a fridge shelf. At 6 mins 34 secs, the time to filer a litre of water was longer than the claimed 3 to 5 mins. But, overall, the quality material and thoughtful design made the jug worth the extra time and expense.

Buy now £100.00, Aarke.com

ZeroWater 7 cup

Best: For just getting the job done

Rating: 7/10

  • Size: 26cm x 12.5cm x 24cm

  • Weight with filter: 1,127g

  • Features: 1.7l capacity (carafe only); reduces lead and chromium

  • Accessories: One ion-exchange filter and TDS water-quality meter

  • Pros: Fits into fridge door

  • Cons: Lid lifts away from body as you pour

There’s no built-in dial, led indicator or app to tell you when to replace the ZeroWater 7’s rather large five-stage ion-exchange filter. Instead, you test the filtered water using the water-quality meter included in the pack, and when it reads ‘006’, it’s time for a change.

In our tests, the jug reduced the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) reading of our tap water from 263 parts per million to an impressive 3, and did so at a reasonably quick 4 mins and 13 secs per litre. This appeared to uphold the manufacturer’s claim that the jug filters “9.6 per cent of minerals, salts, metals, chemicals and runoff polluting your drinking water”. However, it’s worth noting, that the TDS score is not necessarily an indication of how well a water filter jug is performing, as not all are designed to remove, say, salts and minerals from the water.

From a design point of view, the removable-lid section makes filling a breeze. That said, we did notice that when pouring the last quarter or so of the jug, the lid and filter compartment lifted away from the body of the jug, making the pour slightly uneven and spluttery.

With that chunky filter on board, this jug may be fairly weighty when full and not exactly a looker – nevertheless, there’s no denying it’s a great workhorse for the money.

Buy now £24.99, Zerowater.co.uk

Amazon basics water filter jug

Best: For getting back to basics

Rating:  7/10

  • Size: 24cm x 10cm x 26cm

  • Weight with filter: 755g

  • Features: 2.3l total capacity (900ml reservoir, 1.4l carafe); reduces chlorine and limescale

  • Accessories: One filter

  • Pros: Lightweight, slimline design

  • Cons:  Filter a tad tricky to insert and remove

You get a lot of bang for your buck with this entry-level jug. The slimline design meant it was easy to store in the fridge door, while the contoured handle was comfortable to grip and, combined with the lightweight design, made the jug easy to use. It’s dishwasher safe, too, apart from lid, which contains an electronic indicator that tells you when it’s time to change the filter.

At this price point, you can expect some minor flaws, and there were a few. The flip-top lid was tricky to keep open while filling from the tap (it was easier to remove the lid entirely) and the filter required a firm grip and some effort to push into place and to pull out again to replace it. Also, at just over 7 mins per litre, it wasn’t the quickest jug we tested, but the filtered water tasted as good as water from any other jug we tested, and we therefore felt it represented good value for the price.

Buy now £14.00, Amazon.co.uk

Klar fluoride water filter pitcher

Best: For when you need filter water fast

Rating:  8/10

  • Size: 27cm x 13.5cm x 26cm 

  • Weight with filter: 1,008g

  • Features: 3.5l capacity (1.3l reservoir, 2.3l carafe); reduces fluoride, chlorine, lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, iron, manganese, nitrates and microplastics; increases pH of water

  • Accessories: One filter cartridge

  • Pros: Generous capacity; fast filter time

  • Cons:  Won’t fit in fridge door

In addition to removing lots of nasties from your water, the Klar pitcher also increases the water’s pH level, making it alkaline. Although the maker doesn’t make any claims on its packaging or website about the benefits of alkaline water, you don’t have to search far on the internet to find some fairly extravagant generic assertions about how good it is for your health. You also don’t have to look far to discover that there’s little research to back up those assertions, so good on Klar for staying neutral on the subject.

What the maker does claim, however, is that the jug “remineralises” the water, adding zinc, selenium, magnesium and potassium, giving it a “signature Klar mineral water taste”. Although we weren’t able to detect a significant difference in the flavour of the water compared to the other jugs we tested, it was certainly a big improvement from the taste of plain tap water, and that was good enough for us.

The jug’s practical, robust design means that it’s easy to fill through the flap in the lid, which opens with the pressure of the water flowing from the tap alone and closes once the reservoir is full. A hinged flap covers the spout, protecting the water from exposure to air and helping to ensure a clean pour. We liked the digital countdown indicator in the lid that tells you when the filter needs replacing, and at just 58 seconds per litre, the Klar was the fastest filter jug on our list.

The generous 3.5l capacity meant the jug wouldn’t fit in our fridge door, but it did fit on the shelf, meaning we had plenty of chilled water whenever we needed it.

Buy now £44.99, Klarwater.com

Water jugs FAQs

How do I know the jug’s capacity?

The quoted figure may indicate the volume of the jug overall, which will include the reservoir compartment that’s filled with unfiltered water from the tap, as well as the carafe where the filtered water collects into.

However, the figure may refer only to the capacity of the carafe, which is actually the number you need to pay most attention to, as that’s the maximum amount of filtered water you’ll have in your jug at any one time.

The verdict: Water filter jugs

Our best buy is the Brita style, which produced great-tasting water reasonably quickly; was easy to use, store and clean; and combined attractive traditional design with a hint of modernism, all at an affordable price.

For the bargain hunter, the Aqua optima oria is an excellent option, but if cost is not the most important consideration, the Larq pitcher purevis is highly recommend, for both its aesthetics and its performance.  

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