ZeroWater vs. Clearly Filtered vs. Aquagear vs. Alexapure vs. Propur | review with comparison charts
As always, there’s a couple of handy comparison charts at the end of the post.
Before I get started on this review I want to say that ALL of these water pitchers are incredibly good—the best on the market. They all have advantages and disadvantages compared to the others. Most of these differences are slight; and calling one best or worst is mostly a matter of opinion and personal taste. It’s a lot like choosing the best between the Corvette Grand Sport, Nissan GT-R, and Porsche 911 Carrera: Their performance is incredibly similar, and the decision really comes down to which one best toots your own whistle.
But enough qualifying. Here’s the skinny:
Current Amazon.com prices are down below
The first thing most people notice about the Alexapure pitcher is that it has two filters where most other pitchers have only one. Consequently, the Alexapure filters water much faster than most other pitchers.
It usually sells for $49.99, but many times you can find a great discount at MyPatriotSupply.com. While you’re there you can also pick up some high quality storable food, non-gmo heirloom seeds for your garden, or the top-notch Alexapure Breeze air purifier (go here for my review of that).
The filters are good for up to 80 gallons. That’s great compared to mainline pitchers like Brita or Pur, but it’s on the low side in this crowd. They typically cost $29.99 to replace, which gives them a cost of $0.37 per gallon. If you use 1 gallon every day then that adds up to about $11.25 per month.
Assuming you paid $49.99 for it, and averaged 1 gallon of water every day, your total cost of ownership after one year would be $156.83. All of the Alexapure’s numbers—both cost and contaminant reduction—are pretty close to the average of this comparison….some a little higher, some a little lower.
Turning to contaminant reduction, what stands out about the Alexapure is it’s relatively low score for chlorine reduction: 87.5%. All of the other pitchers here scored 99% or higher. Fluoride reduction was also a little disappointing: 90%, while most others scored above 97%.
Overall its test results are on par with the other pitchers here. Also, the Alexapure has published test results for 92 different contaminants; whereas the ZeroWater pitcher only lists 75, and the Aquagear only 71. That’s not to say these other pitchers don’t also do a good job at removing the other stuff, but there’s no proof of it.
As of this posting date, the Alexapure has 3.9 stars on Amazon, but only 12 reviews. However, at MyPatriotSupply.com it has 5 stars with 104 reviews; but that’s still not an overwhelming number of reviews. Decide for yourself how much credence to put on all that. (Credence…..they had some really good songs.)
So if you’re looking for speed, and average filtering performance is okay, then this is the one to get. And honestly, being average in this group is still really, really good.
The Aquagear is very similar to the Alexapure and the ZeroWater. It costs a little more than them up front ($20-$25 more), but costs a little less in the long run. That’s mostly because its filters—while a bit expensive—are good for 150 gallons.
Speaking of filters: they’re $49.95 to replace, making them $0.33 per gallon. Our cost per month is a low $9.99, with a 1 year cost of ownership of $141.55.
Its fluoride reduction is the lowest of the group (89.4%), but its chlorine reduction is the group’s highest (99.9%+). Test results are very good, but limited to about 70 contaminants. That makes me wonder about the things not listed—things like pesticides, herbicides, and pharmaceuticals.
According to the company’s website, their filters have been used by the likes of the U.S. military, the Red Cross, and UNICEF. It also mentions a partnership in 2014 with Thirst Relief International that provided 6 months of clean drinking water to Cameroon, Tanzania, and Uganda for every filter product sold. The website doesn’t state whether this partnership is ongoing, or was only for 2014.
As of this posting date, the Aquagear pitcher has a 4.1 star Amazon customer rating (highest on this list) with a solid 603 reviews.
Clearly Filtered ($69.95)
In my opinion, the Clearly Filtered is one of the two best water pitchers in this comparison (the other being the Propur). It’s not one of the best for cost (it’s dead last there), but it has very lengthy certified lab test results and performed very well on them.
It costs $69.95 to take one home. The replacement filter costs $49.95 and is good for 100 gallons—good, but not exceptional in this group. That gives us a cost per gallon of $0.50, cost per month of $14.99, and total 1-year cost of $202.32. So the Clearly Filtered pitcher is easily the most expensive of the five here in this comparison.
So why is it one of the best? Like I said, it’s in the lab tests. The Clearly Filtered pitcher has certified lab test results for more than 180 contaminants—second only to the Propur. Its test results were above 99% on 10 of the 13 contaminants listed in the chart below. The only exceptions were fluoride (98.0%), and there were no test results for Atrazine or Glyphosate. It removes BPA better than the Propur (99.9% vs. 95.7%), and has practically the same rating as the Propur for E. Coli (99.9999% vs. 100%). The Clearly Filtered and Propur pitchers are the only two with published test results for BPA and E. Coli.
It has an Amazon customer rating of 3.9 stars with a respectable 204 reviews.
Propur Infused ($69.95)
The Propur Fruit-Infused water pitcher is, in my opinion, the overall best pitcher in this comparison. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
It’s a little small. It only holds 6.5 cups of water, while the others hold 8-10 cups. It’s also slow. I don’t know exactly how slow it is, but that’s the dominant complaint in the Amazon reviews; and most likely the dominant reason for its lower rating of 3.7 stars. And I personally think it’s the least attractive pitcher in the group.
And that’s about the worst I can say about it. It costs $69.95. The replacement filter costs $39.95 and lasts for an amazing 225 gallons! That gives it an untouchable cost per gallon of $0.18, or $5.33 per month. Total cost after 1 year is $109.90. I know what you’re thinking. “That math is wrong. The 1-year cost should be $94.81.” Well, not exactly. Propur says that for optimal fluoride removal, the filter should be replaced every 6 months. In our scenario we’re using one gallon per day. In six months that’s only 183 gallons, while the Propur’s filters are good for 225.
That means you can’t make full use of the Propur’s filtering capacity at only 1 gallon a day. I view this as a plus and here’s why: depending on your water quality, there is no guarantee that any of these filters will last as long as the manufacturers state. That’s why they always say UP TO a certain number of gallons. If your water is extra dirty then no filter will last to its maximum capacity. Therefore, the Propur’s filter has extra capacity to handle extra dirty water.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the Propur’s filter is a miniature version of the one found in their flagship countertop gravity-fed water filter. It may work slow, but it works very, very well. Propur publishes an extensive list of certified lab tests with results on over 220 contaminants. Of the 13 contaminants on my list below, the Propur is the only one in this group that reports results on all 13.
Its worst results on the below list are for Fluoride (97.5%), MTBE (96.3%), and BPA (95.7%). The Propur and the Clearly Filtered pitchers are the only ones that report test results for Chloramines, BPA, and E. Coli. Only the Propur and Alexapure publish results for Glyphosate.
There are two other attributes exclusive to the Propur. First, it’s the only one that has a fruit infuser. Fill the infuser with your choice of fruit (or cucumber, or mint leaves, or whatever else) and now you have naturally flavored water. That’s a major plus according to the women in my family.
The other thing that differentiates the Propur from the others is the placement of the filter. Its filter sits inside the housing above the filtered water, while the other pitchers have their filters hanging down in the clean water. I don’t know if that really makes a difference in water quality or filter life, but having the filter constantly submerged in the drinking water looks kinda dirty. Or at least, my wife is really put off by it. You can check it out at the Propur website.
ZeroWater 10 cup ($34.99)
Finally, we have the famed ZeroWater. There is no doubt that this one has the best marketing campaigns. While it certainly is a top-notch water filter, their emphasis on Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is a bit misleading and gimmicky. TDS is a measure of dissolved solids, NOT dissolved contaminants. Ever heard of mineral water? A TDS meter can’t tell the difference between calcium and lead. It only knows that something is in the water. A TDS meter is likely to show that water filtered through the Propur may even have increased TDS….because its filter is made from minerals. That doesn’t mean the water is contaminated. But the TDS meter that comes with the ZeroWater pitcher is a fun little knickknack.
The ZeroWater is relatively cheap up front ($34.99) and the replacement filters are also inexpensive ($14.99); but they’re only good for 40 gallons. So, like the Alexapure, the cost per gallon is $0.37 and cost per month is $11.24. Total cost after one year of use is $156.78—about average here.
Contaminant reduction is extremely good, but not perfect like many people may have been led to believe. Test results on the ZeroWater website are presumably rounded to whole numbers, since nothing listed contained a decimal like 99.4% or something. They only show test results for 75 contaminants, so we don’t know if those are the only ones tested or just the only ones that ZeroWater wants to show us. I think we can assume that it also filters the others reasonably well.
Its poorest marks on the list below are for Benzene (89%) and MTBE (90%). Chromium-6 also has a caveat. The lab tests of all the other pitchers had separate listings for various types of Chromium (Chromium-6, Chromium-3, etc.). ZeroWater just had one general Chromium test result which was 99%.
While this probably isn’t the pitcher that I would buy, it does have one attribute that I think is genius: that little spigot on the back! That looks so useful. I’m sure my wife would love to have something like that, so she wouldn’t have to lug a heavy pitcher in and out of the fridge every time she needs to fill a glass. It would also be great for kids. You wouldn’t want them dropping your $70 water pitcher on the hard kitchen floor!
The ZeroWater 10 cup pitcher has 3.8 stars on Amazon with a whopping 1,686 customer reviews.
Here’s how the economics shake out
|Filter Life (gallons)||80||150||100||225||40|
|Replacement Filter cost||$29.99||$49.95||$49.95||$39.95||$14.99|
|Filter Cost per Gallon||$0.37||$0.33||$0.50||$0.18||$0.37|
|Cost per Month (30 gallons)||$11.25||$9.99||$14.99||$5.33||$11.24|
|1yr Total Cost||$156.83||$141.54||$202.32||$109.90||$156.78|
|Amazon Customer Rating||3.9 stars (12)||4.1 stars (603)||3.9 stars (204)||3.7 stars (110)||3.8 stars (1,686)|
And here are the current prices on Amazon:
Products from Amazon.com
Price: Out of stock
Price: $69.95Was: $71.95
Price: Out of stock
Price: $29.99Was: $34.99
Performance on select contaminants
|Bisphenol A (BPA)||?||?||99.9||95.7||?|
? No test results available.
* The ZeroWater website claimes 99% reduction in "Chromium", but does not specify Chromium-6.
Feel free to leave a comment if the Spirit so moves you. Let me know if you find all this helpful. And let us all know if you have experience with any of these products.