More than 15% of homes in the United States have lead exposure above recommended levels, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is why water filtration is essential to every household, and water filter pitchers offer efficient filtration and convenience.
Brita Pitchers with the Longlast+ filter have the greatest lead reduction rate at 99.5%. The EpicWater filter pitchers (Pure and Nano) and the Clearly-Filtered water filter pitcher have similarly high lead reduction rates of 99.4% and 99.3%, respectively. Water filters pitchers are an efficient and convenient method for lead removal in water.
This article will explore the best water filter pitchers for lead removal. We will also cover how lead enters the water supply, its negative health effects, and how to detect and test lead in your water supply.
How Lead Enters Water Supply
Lead is a contaminant rarely found naturally in water.
Lead in your drinking water typically comes from corroded pipes and plumbing fixtures. Lead alloys and lead solder used in pipes and fixtures can leech into your drinking water.
The source of the lead contamination may be from the municipal delivery system, service lines in buildings built before the 1980’s, or from household plumbing and fixtures including those on well water.
Private well owners may also have lead contaminated water from the lead in pump fixtures and packer elements used above the well water screen level. Increased lead concentrations in well water is also common if the water stays in the well for longer period of time, and if the water is slightly acidic as this increases corrosion.
Adverse Health Effects of Lead
Lead is toxic to human health. Lead exposure occurs when a person ingests, inhales, or comes into contact with lead via the skin (dermus).
Lead exposure can affect almost every organ in the body as well as the nervous system.
There are no acceptable levels of lead consumption according to the EPA.
Pregnant women may run the risk of spontaneous miscarriage from exposure to lead.
Babies who’s pregnant mothers ingested lead-contaminated water can have decreased bone and muscle growth. Their health can be compromised from lead causing:
- Damage to the nervous system
- Abnormal or damaged kidney function
- Blood anemia
- Seizures (rare)
- Coma (rare)
- Death (rare)
Infants and children exposed to lead can damage the brain, resulting in:
- Lower IQ
- Learning disabilities
- Behavioral problems.
Children exposed to lead can have more severe and life-altering health problems than adults.
Adults exposed to lead risk developing mental health issues including:
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration
In adults, there is also an increased risk of cardiovascular-related issues like high blood pressure and fatigue, and muscle pain. Exposure to lead can also cause nervous system damage like pain in extremities and numbness.
Men are likely to experience reproductive system problems, such as:
- Decreased sex drive
- Low sperm count.
How to Detect Lead Contamination in Water Supply
Detecting lead in the water supply with physical inspection is virtually impossible because you cannot smell, taste, or see lead when it’s dissolved in water.
The best ways to detect lead exposure in tap water to do the following:
Request A Consumer Confidence Report
This can be requested via your water utility provider if your water comes from a community water system, as the EPA requires all communities to conduct a yearly water quality test and prepare a report. Also, ask your water provider if the service line leading water to your house is a lead service line; if so, request to have it replaced with a safer alternative.
Test For Lead Yourself
If you have concerns about lead levels in your water, one of the fastest and easiest things to do is to order a Water Utility Test kit from from Tap Score.
They have three types of City Water Test kits available, including the Essential, Advanced, and Extended. If you’re mainly concerned about lead, then you really only need the Essential City Water Test, which is also the cheapest option.
The benefit of these tests over what you generally get on Amazon or in Walmart is they test your water in a laboratory – so, you can actually trust these results. You can even speak with someone on the phone about your results – in fact they encourage it!
For more information on these fast and reliable home drinking water test kits for lead, click the image below:
For private well owners, you’ll want to regularly test your water for lead as levels can vary year to year and between seasons. Click the link below for more information on Tap Score’s well water testing kits:
Test Your Well Water Today!
How Filter Pitchers Are Tested For Lead Removal
Companies that make water filters pitchers can CHOOSE to get certified under the Standards for Water Treatment Systems (NSF). That’s right, obtaining NSF certification is not mandatory.
So, when shopping for filter pitchers that remove lead, make sure it has the NSF/ANSI 53 certification.
How the NSF/ANSI 53 test is run:
- Filters used in water pitchers are tested with water containing 150 ppb lead (or 0.15 mg/L)
- The maximum concentration of lead that can come out the other end is 5 ppb (or 0.005 mg/L)
- A FAILED test is when there is less than a 96.67% lead reduction rate.
Note: the maximum allowable amount of lead in filtered water was lowered in December 2020 from 10 ppb to 5 ppb (published here: NSF/ANSI 53: Drinking Water Treatment Units – Health Effects).
Best Filter Pitchers For Removing Lead
Below is a list of quality water filter pitchers that claim to remove lead. Their lead reduction rates are presented for tests carried out at a pH of 6.5 (more acidic) and 8.5 (more basic), when available. They are available across several websites including Amazon and EpicWater.com.
1. Brita Water Pitcher with Longlast+ Filter
Brita Water Pitchers with the Longlast+ filter has a lead reduction rate of 99.5%, which is the best filter pitcher in our our list. The Longlast+ filter as it’s the only Brita filter model that offers lead reduction. Another words you have to get a pitcher that can take the Longlast+ filter if you want to remove lead.
The Brita Longlast+ filter is NSF certified to:
- Remove 99.5% of lead in water at a pH of 6.5, or
- Remove 99.6% of lead in water at a pH of 8.5.
The Brita Standard filters and Briat Bottle filters do not remove lead from water.
2. EpicWater Filter Pitchers
EpicWater filter pitchers boast an impressive lead reduction rate of 99.4%, which is one of the highest of all filter pitchers that we compared. EpicWater filters are NSF/ANSI 53 certified. EpicWater make two types of 10-cup filter pitchers, the Epic Nano and the Epic Pure.
The Epic Pure Water Filter Jug removes up to 99.99% of all water contaminants, including 99.4% lead reduction. Filters lasts around 3-4 months and are capable of purifying 150 gallons of water.
The Epic Nano Water filter Jug is certainly the next level up. The epic Nano removes 99.9999% of over 200+ tap water contaminants, including viruses, bacteria, and cysts. This makes it perfect for well water or those that use tank water. It also lasts 3-4 months and purifies around 150 gallons (565 L) of water. The Epic Water nano water filter pitcher has been tested, and it exceeds NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, 401, P473, & P23. It offers a 99.4% lead reduction rate and is priced at $54.95.
If you need something a little bigger. You can get these same great filters in a convenient 36-cup dispenser. We have teamed up with EpicWater, and by using one of our links below you can now get 15% off the Epic Pure dispenser or the Epic Nano dispenser.
3. Clearly-Filtered Water Filter Pitcher
The Clearly-Filtered water filter pitcher has a lead reduction rate of 99.3% in water. It is tested to meet the NSF/ANSI 53 standards. The Clearly filtered pitcher offers a large 10- cup capacity and is BPA-free.
4. PUR Water Filtration Pitcher
The PUR Water Filtration Pitcher including the PUR PLUS filter is an affordable and efficient option that offers a lead reduction rate of at least 98.5%. To remove lead from your drinking water, make sure you buy a PUR pitcher that takes the PUR PLUS filter.
The PUR PLUS pitcher filter is NSF certified to:
- Remove 98.5% of lead in water at a pH of 6.5 (acidic), or
- Remove 99.3% of lead in water at a pH of 8.5 (alkaline).
5. ZeroWater Filter Pitcher
ZeroWater filter pitchers have a minimum 95.9% lead reduction rate. The is the most effective pitcher on our list at reducing lead in water. ZeroWater 10-cup pitchers are an affordable option at $24 on Amazon, and the 23-cup pitcher is perfect for family use and costs around $35 on Amazon.
The ZeroWater pitcher filter is NSF certified to:
- Remove 99.7% of lead in water at a pH of 6.5 (acidic), or
- Remove 95.9% of lead in water at a pH of 8.5 (alkaline).
6. LifeStraw Home Water Filter Pitcher
The LifeStraw Home Water Filter Pitcher as a lead reduction rate over 95.49%. This makes making it not as efficient at removing lead from water as the other pitchers on the list. This LifeStraw pitcher is available in a 7 or 10 cup capacity.
The LifeStraw Home Water Filter Pitcher is NSF certified to:
- Remove 96.35% of lead in water at a pH of 6.5 (acidic), or
- Remove 95.49% of lead in water at a pH of 8.5 (alkaline).
This level of lead reduction seems good, but the LifeStraw Home Water Filter Pitcher fails to meet the minimum 96.67% NSF/ANSI 53 Standard for lead reduction.
7. Nakii Water Filter Pitcher
Although the Nakii water filter pitcher looks good and the company claims to do a decent job of filtering other contaminants, it might not be the most suitable for lead reduction.
Nakii does hold an NSF/ANSI 372 certification for lead. However, this NSF 372 standard only means that the materials used to make the filter and the pitcher are tested for lead content – not the filtered water.
Nakii provides no testing to meet the NSF/ANSI 53 standards. The actual amount of lead the Nakii water filter pitcher can remove from water is unknown.
These pitcher filters are certified by bodies like the NSF and WQA to reduce the lead quantity in water.
|Brand||Lead Removal Rate (minimum)||Filter Life (gal)||Filter Life (months)|
|Brita Water Pitcher with Longlast+ Filter||99.5%||120||6|
|EpicWater Filter Pitcher (Nano and Pure)||99.4%||150||5-6|
|Clearly-Filtered Water Filter Pitcher||99.3%||100||4|
|PUR Water Filter Pitcher with PUR PLUS filter||98.5%||40||2|
|ZeroWater Filter Pitcher||95.9%||40-8||–|
|LifeStraw Home Water Filter Pitcher||95.49%||150||2|
|Nakii Water Filter Pitcher||Unknown||150||–|
Note: The lifespan of all filter types (gallons or months) is dependent on the water quality of your home and how often you use it.
It’s important to remember that no amount of lead is safe in your drinking water.
Also, the NSF/ANSI 53 certification is based on NEW filters. If your filter is old, it is likely the amount of lead being removed is less than the percentages stated above. It is always best to replace your water filters regularly. Click on the link below to to buy a replacement filter for your pitcher: