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Brita vs. PUR Water Filters – Which is Better?

brita vs. pur water filter

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 debate between pur and brita

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!

{ 30 comments… add one }

  • frank gomba February 18, 2012, 9:28 pm

    thanks for the candid assessment

  • Amy March 14, 2012, 10:57 pm

    I’ve own a PUR filter system from the beginning. What I don’t understand is why Brita seems to be much more popular. Or maybe the companies get paid better to have Brita on their shelves. I came here thinking “I’m finding Brita filters all over the place… are they actually better?” The filters, at least where I live, are hard to find. Kmart, Costco, and Wal-mart don’t even sell them. I can only find them at my local Target, and oddly enough, they are cheaper-priced for a 3-pack than Amazon. I love my PUR. I have a 5-gal tank and the water tastes great. If only I could find them somewhere else besides Target!

    • waterhq April 29, 2012, 5:55 pm

      Amy,
      We are also big fans of PUR products ourselves. In addition to select retail stores, you can also find them online on sites like Amazon. We’ve found that getting them delivered has been really convenient.

    • Joyce Geddes April 10, 2013, 1:13 am

      I have been buying them online (on Ebay)

    • Jeanne September 15, 2014, 3:04 pm

      Get a Target red card. You can then order the filters on line with no shipping fees. Plus a five percent discount.

  • Sam May 23, 2012, 11:06 pm

    What about other contaminants, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals? This report is very misleading. The only way to ensure you are removing the most contaminants is a reverse osmosis system.

    • waterhq May 24, 2012, 3:45 am

      Sam,
      I would agree with you on that. We recommend a reverse osmosis system on the site. I don’t have any impartial, 3rd party data on pharmaceuticals or other contaminants. Both PUR and Brita say that their filters remove them, but it is hard to verify this information so I have not included it. For example, PUR will say that their filters remove trace levels of contaminants by 99%. They go on to say that that number is based on their own testing of 12 different pharmaceuticals. I would like to see someone independent like NSF back up these claims. I still think PUR is more effective when it comes to this category of filter (the most inexpensive), but I would agree that if you want to get serious you need to consider a bigger investment.

  • dari July 28, 2012, 11:56 am

    I wish I could say good things about PUR but I cant, I use the faucet mount and the filters only last about 2 weeks when it is supposed to last 3 months. I would be content if it lasted a month but 2 weeks are you kidding me!! And after a week the water pressure diminishes. I’ve never used Brita but I will be giving them a chance because I’ve gone through too many PUR filters

    • waterhq July 28, 2012, 1:06 pm

      Hi Dari,
      Thanks for your comments. Always good to have feedback and input on which to base our reviews and opinions here. I guess this post focuses primarily on the two companies’ featured pitcher filters, but it is certainly written with a tone that PUR is better all around. Do you think you got a lemon by chance? Did you try returning it for a different faucet mount? I would be interested to know if this is a problem that many people are experiencing.

    • Tatiana September 21, 2012, 8:02 pm

      The filters don’t last a certain amount of time. It goes by gallons. it lasts 100 gallons so whether you use 100 gallons in 2 weeks or 3 months it all depends

  • SF August 20, 2012, 6:38 am

    What about the plastic in the pitchers and filters of each product? Are they BPA free? Why bother filtering water if all you do is contaminate it with plastic chemicals. I stopped using these pitcher water filter products for this reason. There are no assurances about the composition of the plastic.

    • waterhq August 21, 2012, 3:15 am

      Hey SF,
      You are right to point out that this is not a consideration we made in this analysis. To be honest, it’s something that probably deserves a whole separate article. Feel free to share your own thoughts on BPA presence in either PUR or Brita products in the meantime. We also opt for more serious filtering, but pitcher filters continue to be the most affordable option. Do you have a low cost alternative? Thanks for your comment.

  • Debbie September 6, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Just did my own comparison. We have been using a Pur pitcher for years. Eight months ago we moved to an area that has a high concentration of hard minerals in the water. Water tastes terrible, and the Pur does not NOT make it taste good enough to drink. We have been buying bottled water to drink and using the filtered water for cooking only. Yesterday I bought the Brita pitcher at Costco and just filtered water through the Brita. I was skeptical at first because the Brita filter is smaller than the Pur. The surprising result is that the water tastes significantly better from the Brita. I’ll be getting rid of the Pur.

    • waterhq September 6, 2012, 1:05 pm

      Hi Debbie,
      Thanks for this input. Did you test the water at all for impurities? Was the PUR filter adding a new taste or was it simply not doing enough to eliminate the taste of the water? Thanks for your comment.

  • trina October 9, 2012, 8:04 am

    Are you representatives of the PUR company or an independent researcher with no ties to either company?

    • waterhq October 9, 2012, 8:48 am

      Hi Trina,

      We are completely independent. If enough evidence emerges that Brita is better then we will make the switch. So far that hasn’t happened for us. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Vic Healey November 21, 2012, 7:34 pm

    I came across this site after a bit of frustration with my wife. Costco had a good buy for 10 BRITA filters that she asked me to ignore. She said we had plenty of water filters for the PUR in the garage. Well she shows me the boxes yesterday for about 20 PUR filters I bought for our sink mounted PUR. Yes the one I removed and threw in the trash six months ago when it broke. We will never buy one of those again.

    Well we have a nice large PUR filter that sits on the counter and guess what these sink version of PUR filters we have will not fit it.

    I just ordered a set of four PUR filters for $6 each from Amazon. I was going to order some BRITA. filters but I have no idea which part number to buy so I think we will pitch the BRITA. and buy another PUR for downstairs.

    The PUR is prettier and seems to be better made compared to the BRITA. The sink version is flawed by the materials PUR choose in manufacturing it.

    BTW Costco has the sink attachment for PUR on sale again starting Friday. I shudder to think of what a sink attachment made by BRITA. would be like.

  • Mary T. November 22, 2012, 10:53 am

    One disadvantage of the faucet mount is the weight on the end of the faucet can cause extra wear-and-tear. When we had a new Moen faucet put in, we asked a representative if the model we chose was suitable for a PUR filter. He replied that while it was, the warranty would be affected because of the extra stress on the faucet. We went ahead and installed the PUR filter and after about 8 months, our faucet needed to be re-aligned and tightened because of the filter’s additional weight distribution. I don’t know if the specific design of our faucet was the problem or if it was the filter, but it must be enough of an issue for a faucet company to be concerned. We are now using the pitcher system, which unfortunately uses a different size filter replacement, so I cannot use the rest of those we purchased for the faucet mount. I wonder how many others have had a similar problem with their faucet mount filter?

  • Robert December 1, 2012, 12:30 pm

    I used PUR pitchers for more than decade. However recently I have a problem to find replacement filters for them. So, I bought Korean filter system which has 9 stages of filtration, cost 100 dollars(filters 16 gallons per 24 hours) and filters last for 6 month(all replacement filters cost 18 dollars for set). Quality of water much better than PUR.

  • Janet December 2, 2012, 4:08 pm

    Hi Robert,

    What is the name of the Korean filter system that you bought? Is it attached to your faucet?

  • Becky December 4, 2012, 12:22 am

    We use the PUR faucet mount we bought at Costco and love it. We are spoiled and can’t stand the taste of tap water anymore! I wanted to address the problem I’ve read some people had with the plastic adapter breaking. We had that happen and I emailed the company and they sent a metal adapter to me at no cost. It works great and has held for months now.

  • Dennis December 28, 2012, 6:34 pm

    Like dari I have found the PUR faucet mounts fail after a few weeks, and there is no way we have run 100 gal through it. We drink some water, and use it to make ice – maybe 5 gallons per week total Living in NYC we have excellent water to start with and use the filter to remove chlorine taste, but the concentration isn’t so high as to saturate the filter in a short period. What someone needs to perform is an absorption study to compare the effectiveness of the filters at removing specific contaminants at various concentrations – I’d start with chlorine since it’s ubiquitous in public water supplies. The isotherms generated from the data would tell definitively which is better. We had a Britta in the past and it lasted more than a month, and the pressure was better so I’m switching back. The filters are too expensive to have them exhausted so quickly.

    • waterhq December 29, 2012, 6:52 am

      Hi Dennis,
      Thanks for your comment. And thanks to everyone else for contributing. There is a lot of valuable information here just in the comments. I think part of the problem with this article is that we wrote it with a focus on pitcher filters and we don’t address faucet mount filters to any extent here. It seems there is a lot of problems with PUR faucet mounts, so perhaps we will address that in a future article. If you or anyone else in the comments would like to write a guest post about PUR style faucet mounts or how they compare to similar brita products, please get in touch on the contact page. Thanks again, everyone.

  • Goetz Frank May 2, 2013, 1:52 pm

    This site seems like a sneaky marketing website to market Pur products to me. Be aware of that when reading the above. It should make you actually suspicious when a company uses such marketing methods.

  • waterhq May 2, 2013, 2:38 pm

    Hi Frank,

    I can see how you would say that. We do make a pretty resounding endorsement of PUR in the above article. However, we are not affiliated with PUR in any way. We do make money from referrals so if you buy a PUR product from one of our links, we get a small commission from Amazon. But we would just as well take the same commission if you were to buy a Brita product (they are priced more or less the same – actually the brita ultramax is priced even higher than the PUR dispense we recommend, so we would actually get a higher commission if we recommended the Brita product). Anyway, sorry it reads the way it does, but this has been our experience combined with NSF data and anecdotal evidence from others.

    Take care,
    Phil

  • Rose May 22, 2013, 2:32 pm

    I was surprised that the article says that PUR is cheaper than Brita because I need to buy a filter because I got a notice from the local water company and at Bed Bath & Beyond, the faucet mount system for VOCs is $10 more for a PUR system than for a Brita one. Brita must be more popular also because they are completely sold out at BB&B.

  • Bella September 23, 2013, 8:22 pm

    Hi Everyone,
    I just wanted to add my experiences. I’m a college student with roommates; I used to use the PUR sink mounted filter and my roommates and I loved it! I’m not sure how, but it broke so I called the company, they sent me a voucher to replace it and the replacement was great.

    Since then I’ve moved and decided to go with a pitcher type of filter so I don’t have to share and can keep it in my bedroom. For the past year or so I’ve been using the Brita Ultra Max. Initially I liked the system, but I find that after a few weeks the water doesn’t taste as fresh. I wash the unit regularly (monthly) and replace the filters as well. Additionally, one of my roommates has the same unit but she keeps hers in the fridge. She replaced her entire unit after 6 months because it was growing mold and she freaked out.

    I think at this point I’m going to try the PUR system. I find myself still buying bottled water because the Brita water only tastes good for about 2 weeks after I replace the filter. Perhaps keeping it at room temp contributes to the decline in taste, but I’ve noticed other peoples pitchers tend to absorb the smell and taste of the fridge so I’m trying to avoid that too. Hopefully the PUR system will deliver for me again because I hate having to buy bottled water.

  • Darkstar October 27, 2013, 7:07 pm

    I had been using a Brita pitcher for a year, but found that unless I replaced the water in the pitcher daily, it began to taste a bit off. Like freezer burned. I began replacing filters sooner, to no avail. I then purchased a PUR pitcher and I find it better. I have not had the freezer burn taste problem at all with the PUR pitcher and, the water tastes noticably better. Both my wife and I can tell in a blind taste test which is which. I think the PUR pitcher is better constructed and more tightly sealed which might explain why there’s no freezer burn taste to the water. It does take significantly longer to fill the PUR pitcher as it filters far slower. A bit annoying I suppose, except it is doing its job.

  • Norlene Hopkins May 17, 2014, 1:59 pm

    I can’t find pur filters anywhere but amazon its quite frustrating.

    • waterhq May 18, 2014, 5:12 pm

      Oh really? I would think that most department stores would have them? And what about stores like Target?

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