It is true that Brita water filters are quite popular among people who are sensitive about the quality of water that they use. A big reason for their popularity is because, compared to other water treatment alternatives, they are quite cheap to buy.
There two types of Brita water filters now available. One is a faucet filter and the other is the pitcher pour through type.
The question is: Are they really cost effective? In other words, taking into account their total cost of ownership in relation to their effectiveness of removing pollutants from out tap water, are they really better than their competition?
In this article, I will guide you through a little analysis I made. Please note that all performance claims and pricing were taken from the manufacturer’s website, literature and certified claims.
First, let’s talk about the cost of ownership, which includes both the upfront cost to buy as well as the maintenance cost, i.e. the money you spend on cartridge replacement throughout the filter’s lifetime.
As for upfront cost, as I already mentioned it is relatively quite low. Just to give you an indication, a Brita pitcher costs about $25, while the faucet filter type has a tag price of around $35. In comparison, for a high quality home water filtration system you might have to pay upfront about $130.
However, when we consider the ongoing cost, then it’s a different story. As for the pitcher type, the suggested retail price for a single filter cartridge is $7.99 and the manufacturer recommends to be replaced every 40 gallons of water. That makes the cost per gallon about $0.20.
The faucet type single filter cartridge has a suggested retail price of $18.99 and lasts for 100 gallons. That makes cost per gallon to be around $0.20 as well.
Comparing these figures to the corresponding costs that other leading manufacturers of water filtration systems publish, you will see that the ongoing costs per gallon range from as low as $0.09 up to maximum of about $0.15.
Now, let’s do some math: If we say that the an average four-member household drink about 2 gallons of water per day, then in one year the total drinking water consumption of this household will be 730 gallons. Putting all our figures (initial costs and cost per gallon) for Brita water filters on the one side and those of another water filtration system on the other side as given above, then it is estimated that in about eleven months to a year’s time of daily use, the cost of ownership will be equal.
This means that, after the first year (maximum) of use has elapsed, it will become more expensive to use Brita water filters than to use its leading competitors.
When estimating effectiveness, i.e. how many pollutants they can remove and how efficiently they can do that, Brita water filters are clearly no better than average.
Let’s take chlorine, the widely used disinfectant which has been linked with cancer and atherosclerosis, the primary cause of heart disease. In their performance sheets, Brita manufacturer claims 99% removal of chlorine for the faucet type, while only 75% percent for the pitcher type.
As far as the very harmful by-products of chlorine are concerned, the Brita manufacturer states that neither of the products is able to remove them.
The same holds for VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), while as cysts and cryptogiardia (common pathogens) cannot be removed by the Brita pitcher type.
In general, the Brita faucet type filter performs better than the pitcher type. However, the faucet type still exhibits no better than average performance.
To conclude, it is clear that, while the Brita water filters seem attractive due to their low upfront cost, they are not so competitive in the long run. Especially, when you consider that they are underperformers for the purpose that you bought them in the first place, that is purifying your water!
If you are serious about choosing a high quality, cost effective water filtration system, visit my website to become more educated and see what I personally use at my house and recommend.