By the end of this article, you will have a definitive answer to this question.
Update 8/4/13: Originally published over a year ago, we still maintain the validity of the points in this article. As others have done, feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section below and if you have any additional evidence that proves or disproves the findings below, please share those, too. We would also like to add that we do not work for either company and do not receive any money for the opinions below.
Brita and PUR are the two most well known companies when it comes to water purification. We have previously reviewed and recommended the PUR DS-1800Z 2-Stage Water Dispenser. So why haven’t we reviewed and recommended a BRITA product yet?
We will likely review a Brita product in the near future, but in our experience, PUR produces filters and systems that are both more efficient and durable. Anecdotal evidence from reviews on Amazon and on water filtration message boards, reflects a similar conclusion. The question, however, is whether there is any concrete scientific data backing up a preference for PUR. The answer is yes, in fact, there is impartial evidence when it comes to this debate.
Which filter removes more impurities?
NSF, a non-profit that evaluates a wide range of products, conducted a series of studies on Brita and PUR filters. They found that Brita and PUR filters are almost equally effective, but PUR has a slight edge. PUR filters were able to filter out 97% of Chlorine, while Brita filters removed 94%. In the area of lead removal, PUR filtered out 97% and Brita filtered out 95%. Differences of 2-3% may seem negligible, but you must realize that with respect to a water contaminant like lead, you want that number to be as close to 100% as possible. No amount of lead is really safe for drinking.
Which filter has better design and durability?
Secondly, there is the issue of design and durability. As a case study, let’s take a look at two similar Brita and PUR water filter dispensers: the Brita 35530 Ultramax Dispenser and the PUR DS-1800Z 2-Stage Water Dispenser. The PUR DS-1800Z has more than twice as many reviews (669 vs. 216) and a much higher rating. In fact, the PUR dispenser has almost five stars, while the Brita dispenser is hanging around three and a half stars.
The PUR dispenser has the clear edge on design. It is more narrow and fits more easily into a refrigerator. It also has a better designed spigot, which minimizes leaking. Many of the complaints about the Brita dispenser are about excessive leaking.
As an example, one reviewer on Amazon reports that the spigot is mounted incorrectly so that not all of the water can be accessed for drinking. What’s more, the person goes on to say, the connection between the spigot and larger structure of the filter is flawed, and it will leak eventually. He goes on to report that he is no longer a patron of Brita products.
Which filter is cheaper?
PUR and Brita filters are similarly priced. In the case of the two mentioned filters in this post, PUR is actually slightly cheaper. The replacement filters are equally priced as well. Considering the alleged superiority of PUR products, you would expect them to be significantly more expensive, but that is not the case.
We have used products from both of these companies in the past. Over time, we have found PUR filters to be better designed, more durable, and better performing. The fact that they both cost about the same price makes the decision even easier. Ultimately, if you are serious about your water purification, you will want to invest in something more substantial than a pitcher filter, but if you are just starting out or if you are looking for an easy and affordable option, we would recommend going with a PUR dispenser. Again, this is a filter that is affordable, it’s easy to maintain and it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
So, let’s review:
- PUR has the design advantage – both for functionality and long-term use.
- The prices are more or less the same – at least for pitcher filters, there is not a significant difference in cost.
- PUR filters are more effective – Per the NSF study, Brita filters fall short by a small measure.
- Both are easy to maintain – Both are relatively easy to maintain, although the design flaws with Brita filters may give PUR the edge in this category as well.
Have you used both PUR and Brita products? Let us know your preference and why in the comments below. We would especially like to hear from any hardcore Brita supporters. We would be willing to reconsider our opinions given some new information, but as of now, we are informed by our research and personal experience using these products. In the end, this is a debate that you should settle yourself by actually using the products, but hopefully our advice can provide some guidance. Finally, it’s hard to argue with the numbers provided by an independent third party, so there is that to consider as well.
**UPDATE** Please take a look at the comments section below for some more discussion on these products. Many different people have weighed in on these two companies and the comments form a valuable addition to the original content of the article. Feel free to leave your own 2 cents of course.
Finally, just to reiterate, we are not employed by PUR. We have absolutely no relation to this company and we do not receive any compensation whatsoever for providing these views. Please stop making the allegation!