Shopping for a ceramic water filter?
Check out our recommendations in this guide before making your final decision.
Ceramic filters are known for their high-performance filtration.
They use tiny pores to remove almost everything from your water source including bacteria, viruses, turbidity, and other health-threatening chemicals like pesticides.
And compared with other types of filters, they tend to last longer.
What’s In This Buying Guide
In this buying guide, we review the best ceramic water filters sold online.
We start by presenting our top picks for a variety of installation requirements and needs, then follow with a quick review of each pick. In our reviews we discuss their best features, pros, and cons and also provide a detailed summary of construction and performance.
Next, we provide a brief shopping guide that discusses the most important features to look for when shopping, and we explain the different types of ceramic water filters.
Near the end, in our FAQ section we address questions most buyers have about ceramic water filters.
So let’s start with our list of top 3 picks:
The Best Ceramic Water Filters
Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com
- Best Under-Sink Ceramic Water Filter: Doulton W9330958 SuperCarb
- Best Countertop Ceramic Water Filter: Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration System
- Best Portable Ceramic Water Filter: MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter
1. Best Under-Sink Ceramic Filter: Doulton W9330958 SuperCarb
Doulton’s W9330958 SuperCarb is a solid under-sink ceramic filter that provides clean drinking water on demand. It comes with its own dedicated faucet that installs in your sink.
The silver-incorporated SuperCarb candle filter is encased inside a plastic housing.
The entire Doulton W9330958 system is NSF-certified, so you can rest easy about its performance and safety standards.
- 4-stage filtration system
- Undersink installation preserves kitchen aesthetics
- Compact design
- Works with various ceramic filter cartridges
- Durable plastic housing
- Suitable for all water sources
- Removes hardness, rust, and other smell- and taste-causing particles
- Washable and reusable cartridge
- Dedicated faucet for unlimited water supply
- Some installation parts are missing
The Doulton W9330958 SuperCarb is a simple and easy solution for obtaining clean drinking water. It features a narrow and compact design that easily installs inside the cabinet under your sink.
This ceramic filter from Doulton comes with its own dedicated faucet that installs on your sink for easy access. It hooks on the main water supply to your sink and is fairly easy to install. However, you may need to purchase some installation parts separately.
Although this Doulton appliance features a single filter housing, the water filter is actually a 4-stage system.
It contains a Doulton SuperCarb Candle filter that incorporates silver ions in its structure. The inclusion of silver ions enhances its bacteriostatic and self-sterilizing properties by inhibiting algal and bacterial growth over the filter.
The second stage is the ceramic layer that delivers genuine sub-micron filtration to improve water quality. Next, the water goes through the activated carbon and ion exchange media infused inside the ceramic cartridge.
The activated carbon layer in the Doulton SuperCarb filter traps chlorine and other taste- and odor-causing particles, while the ion exchange medium removes hardness to make water drinkable.
In the end, the water comes out through the included CA Prop 65 approved faucet that installs on your sink.
2. Best Countertop Ceramic Water Filter: Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration System
Zen Water Systems’ Countertop Filtration System is a gravity-fed countertop ceramic filter that filters, purifies, mineralizes, alkalizes, and magnetizes your water to improve its quality.
The system comes as a complete kit and is available in various capacities.
The Zen Water system consists of a micro-ceramic filter that works with a 5-stage purification tower to deliver fresh, crisp, and spring-like water.
- 7-stage water purification system
- Gravity-fed system works without electricity
- Transparent receptacles
- Available in various water capacities
- Simple and easy to set up
- Does not take long to filter water
- Magnetic spigot prevents spilling
- BPA-free parts
- Storage reservoir included
- Requires regular cleaning and maintenance
- No certifications
The Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration System is a comprehensive 7-stage water purification system that delivers amazing water filtration performance. It uses a dome-shaped micro-ceramic filter that removes particles on sub-micron levels, allowing cleaner water to pass through.
The system consists of 2 water reservoirs. The top one is where you impure water. It contains a ceramic filter that uses gravity to remove bacteria and other water pollutants like sediment, dirt, rust, and debris.
After that, the water enters the 5-stage purification tower.
The first stage of this purification tower consists of silver-impregnated activated carbon that absorbs lingering tastes and smells in water to further improve its quality.
Next, the water is forced through ion exchange resins that decrease its hardness by trapping heavy metals and other salts.
The next three stages are remineralization stages consisting of Far-IR balls, silica sand, and mineral sand and stones. These mineralize the water with calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron before allowing it to collect inside the lower storage receptacle.
This Zen Ceramic Filter System also comes with a circular base that encases Maifan mineral stones. These stones inhibit secondary bacterial growth and infuse a balanced taste in water.
3. Best Portable Ceramic Water Filter: MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter
The MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter is an amazing ceramic system that converts dirty water from any source into high-quality drinking water.
It is a hand pump-style portable water filter that filters about a liter of water per minute. You can take this MSR filter with you on camping, hiking, or other outdoor trips. With this by your side, you won’t have to carry the additional load of drinking water with you.
- Compact and portable
- Designed for outdoor usage
- Doubles as a survival water filter
- Filters one liter of water per minute
- Simple and easy to use
- Fast filtration rate
- Folds up for easy storage
- NSF certified
- Plastic parts are prone to breakage
- May crack if frozen
The MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter is a popular choice amongst outdoor enthusiasts because of its easy hand pump style.
The device is simple and compact, with a single ceramic cartridge incorporating a carbon core. The combination of these two filtration techniques in the MSR MiniWorks Ex allows it to eliminate different chemicals as well as microorganisms like bacteria, protozoa, and other particulates.
It features a durable and reliable construction designed to withstand harsh outdoor environments.
The ceramic layer filters water at the sub-micron level, eliminating larger particles along with smaller chemical and microbial matter. After the ceramic layer, the water goes through the activated carbon core that removes residual tastes and odors. In the end, you get crisp and freshwater.
The MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter is quick at chugging out water. It filters about one liter of water per minute.
The filter life expectancy is about 2,000 liters. After that, you have to replace it with a new cartridge.
Ceramic Water Filter Buying Guide
What is a Ceramic Water Filter – and How Does It Work?
As the name suggests, a ceramic filter relies on a ceramic cartridge to filter out water contaminants. It is an old method invented by potter Henry Doulton in 1827 to obtain clean drinking water from dirty sources.
These filters are available as dome- or candle-shaped cartridges with millions of tiny holes, a half micron in size, that allow water to pass through but prevent larger contaminants from getting across.
They effectively separate microorganisms like bacteria, microbial cysts, protozoa, and other particles, and chemical contaminants like lead, arsenic, chlorine, pesticides, and of course, sediment.
Inside this ceramic water filter system is a maze of sharp angles. These trap the residual contaminants that may pass through the exterior layer.
While a pure ceramic filter itself is very effective, some ceramic filters are also infused with other filtration media to enhance their filtration process.
For example, a ceramic filter with an activated carbon filter eliminates taste- and odor-causing molecules along with the other common water pollutants.
Meanwhile, others with silver ions enhance their self-sterilizing and bacteriostatic properties. This infusion also allows them to target mold and algae in your water supply.
Some ceramic filters also contain ion exchange resins that help get rid of heavy metals like mercury, copper, lead, and zinc dissolved in your water.
Some ceramic filtration systems actually combine all three. This means the water initially passes through the ceramic layer infused with silver ions for initial filtration.
Then it is treated with activated carbon to filter out chemicals, VOCs, taste, and odors. Lastly, the water passes through the ion exchange resins before it is supplied to you.
Types of Ceramic Water Filters
Depending upon their shape and installation, there are different types of ceramic water filters. These include:
Under-Sink Ceramic Filters
As the name suggests, under-sink ceramic filters install in your under-sink cabinet to provide safe water directly from the faucet. They usually have a designated faucet that installs directly on your sink.
Under-sink ceramic water filters are a great option if you want to save some counter space. They remain hidden inside your cabinet and hook directly on the main water supply line to your sink.
Plus, you don’t need to divert the water flow before you can use these filters. The dedicated faucet supplies you with an infinite supply of clean drinkable water.
However, some under-sink ceramic filters are a bit difficult to install, so you might need to hire professional help to set them up.
Pot-type Ceramic Filters
Pot-type ceramic filters are traditional ceramic water filters.
Initially designed by the Potters for Peace Movement, these are the simplest type of water filters and consist of water holders that resemble flower pots.
They consist of plastic or ceramic containers, usually divided into 3 parts. A ceramic cartridge with different sized pores is fitted into the center, making it a dual-staged system.
When you pour contaminated water into the first part of the pot, the ceramic cartridge filters it and removes bigger contaminants like sediment and debris, allowing slightly cleaner water to pass through.
Next, the water passes through the second part with smaller ceramic filter holes. This time, it filters smaller particles and allows the water to enter the last storage receptacle. This receptacle usually has a tap or spigot that allows you access to clean water.
Pot-type ceramic filters are quite popular because they are simple to use and fairly affordable to manufacturers. They are low-maintenance and easy to clean. You can simply use a soft brush to clean them before rinsing them with water.
Candle-type Ceramic Filters
Candle-type ceramic filters are quite similar to pot-type ceramic filters, except they are shaped like long candles. These candles are installed into plastic or metal containers.
When you pour water into the container, the small pores on the ceramic candle strain the different contaminants, allowing only clean and safe water to pass through. This filtered water collects into the second container located beneath the first container and usually has a tap for easy access.
These types of ceramic filters are not just easier to operate; they also provide significant mechanical and manufacturing advantages over pot-type ceramic filters.
They are more durable than their pot-type counterparts. Plus, since they are encased inside the filtration container, they are protected from damage as well. With minimum exposure, they are also protected from environmental effects.
They are also more flexible in terms of the installation because their filtration area is not dependent on the attachment joint.
You can customize and standardize your candle-type filter with your receptacles. You don’t need to disassemble everything if you want to replace or remove a ceramic filter candle. You can simply add or remove the ceramic candle in question without disturbing the entire assembly.
Portable or countertop ceramic
Portable and countertop ceramic filters are similar, but they have some differences.
Portable ceramic filters are lightweight and compact devices, and you can use them both indoors and outdoors. They usually require manual plumbing to start the filtration process, which is they are popular amongst hikers, campers, travelers, and other people who engage in outdoor activities.
As the name suggests, countertop ceramic filters sit on your counter and filter the water from your sink.
While they are a convenient means to get water, purchasing one also means you have to sacrifice some valuable counter space. And since they are clearly visible, they have a huge impact on your kitchen’s aesthetics.
You can choose between two types of countertop ceramic filters.
The first type is gravity filters with two separate water reservoirs. You fill the first one with dirty water, and the water travels down through the ceramic cartridge into the bottom storage reservoir. You can then access the water from here.
These countertop ceramic filters are simple and easy to use but require constant refilling in order to obtain clean, filtered water.
The other type of countertop ceramic water filter comes with a built-in faucet or a diverter system with a hose that attaches to your existing sink faucet.
When you turn the faucet on, the water first passes through the filtration system via the hose and flows out from either the installed diverter over your faucet or the built-in dedicated faucet.
These countertop filters are an excellent way of obtaining an uninterrupted supply of clean water without needing to refill anything.
Inline ceramic filters
Inline ceramic water filters, like regular inline water filtration systems, install on the main water supply line to allow only clean water from that point onwards. They are a simple solution to your dirty water problem.
These filters filter the water that comes through your household plumbing and ensure that you have healthy and clean water flowing out from your tap.
Why Should You Buy a Ceramic Water Filter (Vs. Other Kinds)?
Ceramic water filters are known for their affordability and efficacy. They come in different types and styles to accommodate different buyers’ needs.
Here are some other benefits of a ceramic water filter over other kinds:
- With its small pore size, a ceramic filter can easily capture harmful cysts from water. These microbial bodies usually carry parasites that can harm your body. For example, Giardia and Cryptosporidium are two common parasites found in waterborne cysts. If any of these enter your body, they can make you seriously ill. Using a ceramic water filter helps you avoid these health problems by eliminating the cysts from your drinking water.
- City water is treated with chlorine to kill different viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that could be harmful if ingested. However, traces of residual chlorine can sometimes make the water smell and taste funny. With a high-quality ceramic, you can get rid of the funny taste- and smell-causing particles in your water.
- Ceramic water filters have very small filtration pores, usually about 0.5 to 1 micron. They can efficiently stop bacteria from passing through because most bacteria are larger than this. They remove dangerous microbes and provide you with safer drinking water.
- Whether you get city water or rely on a well to sustain your home, turbidity is an issue that affects both city and well water supplies. Installing a ceramic water filter helps eliminate that. The filter’s small pores effectively capture turbid particles, allowing clean water to pass through.
What to Look For
Now that you know why ceramic filters are better than other water filter types, you should also know what features make a certain ceramic water filter model suitable for your household.
Here are some features to keep in mind when choosing between different ceramic filters:
Since a ceramic filter cartridge is made out of clay, you have to make sure that the unit you purchase is sufficiently durable.
The quality of materials used in the construction of ceramic filters varies from one manufacturer to another. When comparing between two likely units, choose the one that is thick, sturdy, and does not crack off easily.
Checking the unit’s warranty coverage also helps guess its sturdiness. A filter with longer warranty coverage is usually a more reliable product.
Double-check the construction, build quality, and warranty coverage to pick a durable ceramic filter over flimsy ones.
The cost of a ceramic filter is also an important consideration.
Besides the initial cost of the system, there are fitting costs as well. To make sure you don’t exceed your budget, you should avoid models that need perennial filter cartridge replacement.
Calculate the operational expenses and installation costs of your chosen filter system before making the purchase.
You don’t need to go overboard and purchase something way out of your budget. There are plenty of affordable ceramic water filters currently available on the market. You should carefully analyze the different models and choose one that fits both your budget and application.
Ceramic is a great filtration medium because its small 0. 5-micron pore size prevents contaminants and water pollutants from moving across. It holds its own against all major water contaminants like sediment, bacteria, and odorous molecules.
However, ceramic is not very effective at removing stubborn particles like viruses. For complete water purification, you need a ceramic filter with other filtration media that enhance its performance.
You can choose between activated carbon, ion exchange resins, and silver ions, amongst many other options. All of these have amazing filtration capacities that help improve the ceramic filter’s performance.
Your choice of a suitable combination greatly depends upon your needs.
For example, if your water supply has residual taste and smell issues, a ceramic water filter infused with activated carbon is a good choice. And if you want to eradicate heavy metals from your drinking water, go for a ceramic filter with ion exchange resins.
Of course, the best ceramic water filter is one that combines all three filtration techniques in one device.
Ease of Use and Maintenance
Since water is a basic necessity, your ceramic water filter should not be stressful to operate. Luckily, most ceramic filters are actually quite easy to operate.
Though some models are a tad bit difficult to clean or require frequent filter replacements, it’s better that you invest your money in a low-maintenance unit that is simple to clean and has a long filter lifespan.
Pros and Cons of Ceramic Water Filters
Ceramic water filters are a more affordable and economical way of obtaining pure drinking water than plastic filters. They are low-maintenance devices that are easy to use and safe for your health.
But they also entail some limitations and shortcomings that you should not ignore.
Unlike their plastic counterparts, ceramic water filters are completely natural. A true ceramic filter does not add anything to your water. Instead, it has very small holes on its surface that strain out waterborne particles and bacteria to provide you with clean and safe drinking water.
Compatible with other filtration media
Ceramic filters are very versatile. They work with other filtration media to enhance the overall filtration performance.
The most widely used add-ons for ceramic filters are activated carbon, silver ions, and ion exchange resins. Your ceramic filter can be a combination of one or all three of these filtration media for enhanced performance.
Deliver effective filtration performance
Most high-quality ceramic filters have half-micron-sized pores on their surfaces to deliver effective filtration performance. They are quite efficient at removing both visible and invisible particles from your water supply, including sediment, dirt, rust, and other taste- and odor-causing molecules.
The pores easily capture bacteria like E. Coli, salmonella, shigella, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium. And Plus, an infused ceramic filter has a wider water purification range.
Improve the quality of water
Ceramic filters greatly improve water quality by removing waterborne particles that affect the water’s appearance, taste, and smell.
They also minimize water turbidity to provide high-quality water that looks clean, smells fresh, and tastes good. And they do so without removing essential minerals from drinking water.
Affordable and eco-friendly
Unlike traditional water filters, ceramic filters are not merely affordable; they are pretty easy to manufacture as well. Since they are crafted using common clay, these filters are the most budget-friendly way of obtaining clean, drinkable water.
Plus, they are quite eco-friendly. You can relate a ceramic filter’s filtration to that of the Earth’s. Both permeate and separate the particles they find in the water.
Since they are made using clay, ceramic filters are quite fragile. You have to be careful while cleaning and handling these.
If you drop them, they can develop cracks that greatly reduce the filtration performance. Even a hairline crack is enough to provide an opening for bacteria and other contaminants.
Not very effective against viruses
While ceramic water filters effectively remove bacteria and other water contaminants, they do very little in trapping viruses. This is because these organisms are very small and slip through the holes in the ceramic filter.
Cleaning and Maintenance
In general, ceramic water filters are quite simple to clean and maintain. All you need to do is scrub their surface with a soft brush or a soft scouring pad under running water. Doing so will remove the layer of debris clogging their pores and renew them for further filtration.
If your ceramic filter has not been in use for a few days, be sure to discard the first two liters of water it filters for safety purposes.
Even if the surface does not show any visible cracks, if you spot bubbles while cleaning, it means there is a crack letting air through. Stop using that cartridge immediately and look into getting a replacement.
Although ceramic water filters are reusable, they still have a filtration lifespan. Some ceramic filters require replacing every 6-12 months. Others have a longer lifespan and last for up to 3 years before they need a replacement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is ceramic filtered water safe to consume?
Yes, ceramic filtered water is safe and healthy to consume. This type of filter has small pores all over its surface that strain out the water contaminants and provide you with clean, fresh, and tasty water.
It eliminates harmful bacteria like E Coli and salmonella and also eliminates health risks associated with waterborne cysts.
Do ceramic filters last long?
An average-sized ceramic filter has enough filtration capacity to provide you with clean water for 6 months. Some models have a filtration lifespan of around a year. However, the longest-lasting ceramics filters have a lifespan of up to 3 years, after which you should replace them.
Do ceramic water filters trap chlorine?
While a true ceramic filter alone might not be very effective at eliminating chlorine, a ceramic filter infused with activated carbon can effectively remove chlorine and its by-products like chloramine and trihalomethanes from the water.
Final Verdict: What is the best ceramic water filter sold today?
For us, the Doulton W9330958 SuperCarb is the best ceramic water filter system for most homes. This under-sink system comes with a dedicated faucet to obtain an unlimited supply of clean water.
But if you need a countertop filter instead, the Zen Water Systems Countertop Filtration System is a great option. This gravity-fed filter is available in various capacities.
And if you need a portable device, check out the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter. It is a durable, sturdy, and reliable device with a ceramic cartridge and a carbon core. It eliminates water pollutants from outdoor water sources to provide you with clean water on the go.