SAN ANTONIO – Tap water is a refreshing thirst-quencher at your fingertips. Unless, of course, it tastes or smells weird.
Because many people prefer to filter their tap water, Consumer Reports tested pitcher-style water filters.
"Most water in the U.S. is safe to drink, but it could contain compounds and chemicals that can make it taste metallic or salty or even smell a little funny," said Consumer Reports home editor Perry Santanachote.
Most of the pitchers Consumer Reports tested successfully took care of the smell, but only one pitcher earned an excellent rating for both flavor and odor reduction -- the Pur Ultimate with Lead Reduction PPT711W.
Consumer Reports recommends two others as well -- the Pur Basic PPT700W and the Brita Stream Rapids OB55.
"No one filter does it all," Santanachote said. "Most pitchers will remove chlorine and elements that leave a bad taste, but very few actually remove lead."
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In fact, only two pitchers that Consumer Reports tested actually claim to filter out lead. If there are serious contaminants in your water, a water pitcher filter may not be enough to solve your problem.
Another factor to consider when choosing a pitcher is how long it takes to filter the water.
The Brita Stream Rapids filtered 1 quart of water in just 1 minute and 15 seconds. In comparison, the lead-removing Pur Ultimate took nearly 15 minutes to filter a quart.
You also need to replace the filter in your pitcher as often as the manufacturer states, which is usually every two months or 40 gallons.
New filters generally range from $5 to $15.