According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead is known to cause harm to the body. Its effects include brain damage, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite to mention a few.
Lead can get into your drinking water through corrosion of plumbing materials.
This is particularly faced by homes that were built before 1986. The reason being that these homes probably still use lead pipes to connect to the main supply of water.
The most effective way of eliminating lead from your water supply is by using a filter.
We’ve reviewed some of the best lead water filters which are capable of eliminating lead from your water.
Water Filters For Lead: Our Top Picks
Whole House Softener
Down to 15ppb
Best Water Filters For Lead Removal Reviewed
Best Whole House Lead Filter – iSpring WGB22B-PB Water Filter
The iSpring WGB22B Water Filter is our top pick for the removal of lead from water.
This 2-stage Big Blue whole house water filter from iSpring will reduce almost all of the common metals that may enter your water like lead, manganese, iron, copper, calcium, etc.
It is NSF certified and removes up to 95% of sediment and other common contaminants.
This system which is designed to be installed at the point of entry (POE) of your water source.
It ensures safe, odorless, clean drinking water to all the faucets in your home – water that is devoid of lead and other contaminants.
The unit is equipped with a 2-stage filtration system and has a 1 inch NPT inlet/outlet which causes minimum impact on the flow of water.
Included with the system are two 12 inch 1 “MNPT X 3/4” push-fit hoses which help in a hassle-free installation to any 3/4 pipe.
You won’t need to weld or glue the pipes together. All you need to do is to push the hose into the pipe and it’s locked in place.
If you need to disconnect the system from the pipes, a removal tool is provided.
Features We Love
- The coconut shell carbon block filter which is durable and more effective.
- The FCRC25B iron and lead reducing filter.
- Affordable replacement filters.
- Easy installation.
- 15 GPM flow rate.
- The second filter specifically targets lead and iron and removes up to 95% of it.
- Its filter has a low micron rating as low as 5 microns.
- There is a pressure release button.
- Good flowrate of water at 15 gallons per minute
- Two 12 inch 1 “MNPT X 3/4” push-fit hoses ensure easy installation.
- Removal tool to disconnect system from pipes.
- It’s a tad pricey for a 2 stage filter.
The first stage of the filtration will remove most of the sediment from your water.
There’s also the Carbon Block filter which uses coconut shell carbon that helps it achieve good filtration results.
Bad tastes and odors are removed during this stage along with 90% of chlorine and other organic chemicals.
The carbon block filter effectively removes pesticides, herbicides, and other industrial chemicals.
In the second stage, the FCR25B Lead & Iron filter will effectively reduce the lead to below 15 ppb. This is the EPA standard for drinking water.
This filter is only provided with the WGB22B-PB to specifically target iron, lead, and other heavy metals found in well water.
One word of caution though – the capacity of this filter is much lower for iron than that of lead so for the removal of iron you may need a different filter.
Best UnderSink Filter – Woder 10K-DC Under Sink Filter
What we like about the Woder 10k-DC filter system is the longevity. You can filter up to ten thousand gallons of water with this system.
This is about 3 years of usage and it is great for filtering out almost all harmful chemicals and minerals from your water.
The best thing about it is that it also filters out 99.9% of lead and other heavy metals.
However, unlike some other RO filters, it does not filter out essential minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
The bacteriostatic filter uses the method of ion transfer and sharing electrons with any pathogen captured by the filter.
This filter system from Woder is relatively simple to install as no plumbing is required.
Features We Love
- Gets rid of 99.9% of the contaminants in your water
- Easy to install.
- Lasts up to 3 years.
- Filters up to 10,000 gallons of water.
- Comes preassembled.
- Installation is certainly one of the easiest we’ve seen.
- No plumbing required as it connects to a regular standard waterline.
- Filters up to ten thousand gallons of water.
- The system cannot be used with well water.
The complete assembled kit includes direct connect hoses fitting standard 3/8” water valves.
These hoses can be attached directly to the existing cold water valve and faucet stem under your sink.
The filters are more effective and have a longer life because they have microparticles. In addition, the numerous filtering ingredients give the filters a high capacity to purify your water for a long time.
These NSF approved filters can be easily replaced and you won’t need to replace the whole unit.
With this filter system from Woder, you can be sure of fresh-tasting water. Your dishes will also be free from any water stains.
But it has a few downsides.
One of the downsides of this system is that it has to be used in conjunction with pre-treated drinking water.
It can only be used on water that has been properly disinfected, like municipally treated water.
Hence, it is not recommended for well water. Also, if the system is run for extended periods with very hot water, the filter is likely to get damaged like other filters too.
Best Lead Water Filter Pitcher – Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher
Clearly Filtered recently developed their filtration technology to produce an excellent filtered water pitcher. The pitcher which holds two quarts of water, can effectively remove more than 220 harmful contaminants from water.
The new pitcher is made from superior quality BPA free medical-grade Tritan materials. This new material makes it more durable and safer.
In addition to that, the pitcher has a feature known as the water dam.
With the water dam, you can pour water even when the filtration process is still on. The unfiltered water in the reservoir is prevented from mixing with the filtered water in the bottom.
The filter can purify up to 100 gallons of water (380 liters). This is an average life of about 3 to 6 months depending on your water usage.
Each filter has been tested and certified to meet the standards of the NSF/ANSI.
Features We Love
- The pitcher comes with a lifetime warranty.
- The charcoal based water filter filters out lead up to 99%.
- Superior quality BPA free medical-grade Tritan material
- Has a filter life of 100 gal.
- Easy to use.
- Removes more than 220 contaminants, including lead 99.5%
- Water tastes great.
- Long filter life.
- Takes about 20 minutes for the entire pitcher to fill up.
- The lid has to be removed to fill water.
- There is no indicator for replacement of filters
If your water begins to smell funny or taste different you know it’s time to replace the filter. Replacing the filter is pretty straightforward.
You can purchase these filters online. It’s a good idea to prime a new filter before installing it. It will help with a better initial flow if you do.
One thing we didn’t like about the pitcher is that you have to remove the lid every time you need to fill it. There is no fill hole option on the lid. However, that is a minor issue when you look at the other advantages of the pitcher.
The lifetime warranty that the company offers on the Clearly Filtered pitcher is something that we love. It’s proof that the company has great faith in its product.
Best Lead Water Faucet Filter – Waterdrop 320-Gallon Long-Lasting Water
A faucet filter is one of the quickest and cheapest means of filtering water. It’s extremely easy to install and will give you on demand filtration. It, however, filters water only at one point.
All you have to do to install it is to remove the faucet aerator and attach the filter in its place. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have filtered water flowing straight out of your kitchen faucet.
Like its name suggests, the Waterdrop 320 Gallon Long-lasting Water filtration system provides 320 gallons of clean water.
This is about 6 months of clean water, depending on your usage. The longer duration of the filter is what stands out for us. Most faucet filters have to be replaced within 2 months.
Features We Love
- The longer durability of the filter
- 0.5 micron Activated Carbon Filter to remove lead, fluoride and other contaminants.
- Easy to install.
- 320-gallon filter life.
- Filters up to 4 water bottles in a minute.
- A switch lever to alternate between filtered water and regular tap water.
- Easy to install.
- 320-gallons of filtered water.
- Only fits standard faucets.
- Cannot be used with very hot water.
This faucet filter from Waterdrop is very effective in reducing lead and other contaminants. The 0.5 micron Activated Carbon Filter also reduces chlorine up to 93%.
The steady flow rate of 0.5 gpm will give you about 10 cups of water in a minute. A switch lever is present on it. The switch lever allows you to easily alternate between filtered water and regular tap water.
Waterdrop has also added more attachments to make it easier to fit more faucets. However, it’s always a good idea to check out the compatibility of this filter with your faucet before making a purchase.
By industry standards, it is expected to fit all standard faucets.
Best Lead Water Filtered Water Bottle – Epic Nalgene OG Water Filtration Bottle
In 2018, Epic Water Filters tied up with Nalgene to install their filter into the Nalgene 320 oz wide mouth bottle. We think this tie up is great because of each company’s expertise in the specific area.
The Epic filter with the Nalgene bottle gives you great tasting water in a safe durable bottle. It comes with a 75 gallon filter which is definitely good when compared to some filtered water bottles.
This water bottle is made with BPA free materials. Hence, it is replaceable and also recyclable. The filter in it has a 1 micron rating which up to 90 % of lead from your drinking water.
With respect to design, the water bottle is great. It sports a good design and can be taken out anytime.
Features We Love
- Filter with capability of 1 micron contaminant removal.
- 100% BPA & BPS free.
- Lightweight and great design.
- Coconut shell based carbon filter eliminates 99.9% contaminants
- Filters lead, chlorine, chromium 6 arsenic and chloroform.
- Uses depth and adsorption filtration.
- Good design makes it compatible for work, gym or backpacking.
- Cannot be emptied fully because of the filter. Some water tends to remain in the bottle.
As mentioned earlier, the high quality carbon fiber filters will give you about 75 gallons of clean healthy water. This is 3 times longer lasting than the standard water bottle filters. The filters are interchangeable and easy to replace.
However, the filters for the outdoors are sold separately.
This water bottle is also a good option for the environmentally conscious. With each Urban filter you save the environment from 550 single use plastic water bottles.
The NSF/ANSI tested filters can remove over 200 known water contaminants. Harmful contaminants like bacteria, viruses, lead, chlorine, VOC, Herbicides, and pesticides are just some of the contaminants that the filter removes.
Best Lead Water Shower Filter – AquaBliss Universal Shower Filter
The Universal Shower Filter from AquaBliss is one of the simplest filters to install. It works with all shower types including handheld showers, fixed, and rain showers.
One of the reasons why we love it is because you don’t have to be technically sound to be able to install it.
All you have to do is remove your shower head, attach the universal high pressure shower filter in its place and then screw the shower head onto the filter. Within no time you’ll have healthier skin, nails and hair.
The filter cartridge is made of 3 materials – redox media, calcium sulfite and activated carbon. This 3 filter combination gives you added filtration at different temperatures.
With respect to lead removal, you should expect to remove about 95% of lead from your water.
Features We Love
- No hassles with installment.
- Significantly reduces contaminants to give you better skin and hair.
- The small space has a 3 stage filtration system.
- Removes up to 95% of lead.
- Eliminates the smell and taste of chlorine as well as contaminants like lead, mercury, nickel, chromium etc.
- Unique blend of redox media, calcium sulfite and activated carbon eliminates the contaminants from water.
- Universal fit for various shower types.
- No tools required for installation.
- For well water the internal filter cartridge needs to be turned around every month.
The filter is replaceable and needs to be changed every six months.
The Universal Shower Filter from Aquabliss works great with well water.
However, it is recommended that you turn around the filter cartridge every month when using well water. This will prevent any sediment buildup inside which could restrict the water flow.
Hot water will not affect its working. The filter normally lasts for about 6 months, but if you feel a drop in pressure then it’s probably time to change the filter.
One word of advice when installing is to use sufficient Teflon tape to prevent any leakage in the future.
Water Filters For Lead Removal Comparison Table.
|Name of Lead Filter||Brand||Type||Filter Life||Removes Lead||Flow Rate||Rating||Price|
|Best Lead Water Faucet Filter - Waterdrop 320-Gallon Long-Lasting Water||Water Drop||Faucet Filter||320 gal||93%||0.5 GPM||4.7||$|
|Best Lead Water Shower Filter - AquaBliss Universal Shower Filter||Aqua Bliss||Showerhead Filter||6 months||90%||-||4.6||$$|
|Best Lead Water Filtered Water Bottle - Epic Nalgene OG | Water Filtration Bottle||Epic Water Filters||Water Bottle||75 gal||90%||-||4.6||$$|
|Best UnderSink Filter - Woder 10K-DC Under Sink Filter||Woder||Under Sink Filter||10000 gal||99.90%||3 GPM||4.6||$$$|
|Best Lead Water Filter Pitcher - Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher||Clearly Filtered||Water Pitcher||100 gal||99.50%||-||4.7||$$$$|
|Best Whole House Lead Filter - iSpring WGB22B-PB Water Filter||iSPring||Whole House Water Filter||80,000 gal||Down to 15ppb||15 GPM||4.8||$$$$$|
Health Risks Posed By Lead
The EPA states that drinking water can make up 20 per cent or more of a person’s total exposure to lead.
To control this lead intake, it has set the level for lead in drinking water at zero because of the harmful effects that lead can have on human health.
Lead is not expelled out of the body easily and can bio-accumulate over a period of time. Even a low exposure to lead can be harmful.
- According to the EPA the most vulnerable are young children, infants and fetuses. A dose of lead that would not normally cause problems to an adult can have far reaching effects on children. Problems in children arising from lead exposure are :
- Learning disabilities and behavioral problems.
- Growth impairment
- Problems with hearing
- The WHO also states that lead is not only harmful to young children but can also pose a risk to pregnant women. Exposure to lead can lead to miscarriages, still birth and premature birth. It can also have serious implications on the baby’s brain.
In other adults, lead can lead to kidney damage and an increase in blood pressure. It can also lead to reproductive problems in both sexes.
Exposure to lead usually goes unrecognized as there are no obvious symptoms. Lead is so toxic, it can affect almost every system in the body.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are at least 4 million households wherein children are being exposed to high levels of lead.
How does Lead Get into Water?
It is highly unlikely that lead will enter your water naturally. Lead leaches into the water from contact with the plumbing and ends up in your delivery system.
When water has a high acidic content or a low mineral content, it can corrode the pipes and fixtures and cause leaching.
The factors that lead to the amount of lead that can leach into water are:
- Corrosion of pipes and fixtures
- New brass faucets and fittings
- The packer element of older private wells
- The temperature of water
- The length of stay of stagnant water in the pipes
- Protective coatings or scales inside the plumbing materials
Testing For Lead in Water
Every year in July the EPA releases the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) which is the annual drinking water quality report.
This will tell you the source of your water and the contaminants (if any) that are present in it. You can look this up online.
It is always best to have your water tested. There are various ways to find out the contaminants present in your water.
The most reliable would be to find a certified laboratory.
Finding a laboratory that is certified by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or the EPA is quite simple. The EPA website will give you a list of laboratories in the United States.
Once you find a convenient lab, you’ll need to get in touch with them. The lab will either give you a container to collect a sample of your water or will specify what you need.
It’s always best to collect the sample first thing in the morning.
To get an accurate measure of the lead content in your water, the water in your pipes should be stagnant for at least six hours.
Sometimes the lab may ask you to collect a second sample after you have run the water for a few minutes.
Once you’ve submitted the samples to the laboratory you will have to wait for the results.
In addition to this, some local health departments conduct free tests on private wells. A test will determine the levels of contaminants present in your water.
Home Test Kits
An Instant Home Test Kit is another option which will allow you to conduct the test independently.
These kits are pretty accurate and will give you the results within no time. There are several kits available in the market.
We recommend the Health Metric Lead Test Kit For testing for lead in your water.
How Do You Remove Lead In Your Water?
Before you go in for any treatments for lead in your water you will need to identify the source of lead. If the source of lead is easy to remove then you should consider this option right away.
Lead will enter your drinking water either through the pipes in your home or through your well if you use well water.
Brass or chrome plated faucets and fixtures can also increase the level of lead in your water. Significant amounts of lead can leach into your water, especially hot water.
You will need to check if any of the components of your well are the source of lead and remove them.
Apart from this, the other ways of getting rid of lead in your water are enumerated below.
Flushing – The cheapest way of reducing the lead content in your water is by flushing out the system first thing in the morning.
Allow the water to run out for some time as stagnated water will have a higher content of lead in it.
The downside to this is that you will probably waste quite a bit of water.
You could probably use this water in the garden.
When using water directly from the tap, the CDC suggests that hot water is not such a good idea. Hot water usually contains a higher quantity of lead than cold water.
Installing an acid neutralizer – An acid neutralizer will help alter the pH level of your water to a more neutral, less corrosive state.
The neutralizer reacts with the corrosive elements present in the water and prevents them from reacting with the piping.
Acidic water is generally responsible for leaching dangerous metals like copper and lead into your water.
The CDC specifies three methods of treatment for lead in water.
Filtration using an activated carbon filter – One of the most effective ways of removing lead from your well water is by the process of filtration.
However, you must keep in mind that all filters are not designed to remove the same contaminants.
Check the NSF database for a guide to the kind of filter that you should use to remove lead.
Activated carbon filters are specially designed to remove lead and other dangerous metals.
Almost all the filter systems that we’ve reviewed above use these filters to remove lead.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) – This is one of the best methods for getting rid of lead from drinking water. The combination of a semi permeable membrane and carbon filters effectively traps and removes impurities.
RO systems can be a tad pricier than other filtration systems. A lot of water is also wasted with these systems.
Distillation – This is a two-step process which involves evaporation and condensation.
During this process water is boiled in the first chamber and converted to steam which passes into the second chamber.
This steam later condenses and is collected in the second chamber for drinking. Most of the inorganic contaminants like lead, cannot vaporize and remain in the first chamber.
Although distillation is very effective in removing lead, the process is lengthy and the apparatus is quite costly.
This is one of the reasons why whole house distillation treatments are not available.
Water Filters and Purifiers That Will Eliminate Lead In Your Drinking Water at Home.
There are various systems that are designed to improve the quality of your drinking water. If you’re looking for a filtration system specifically to reduce lead, read the manufacturers guidelines for list of contaminants. Not all filter systems are designed to target lead.
- Whole house filtration systems – These filtration systems are installed at the point of entry of your household water. They treat water right at the source ensuring a clean, clear, safe supply to all your faucets.
- Under Sink Water Filter – These filter systems are installed under the kitchen sink and target a specific water outlet.
- Countertop water filters – As the name suggests these devices are connected to the faucet. They purify the water when you turn the tap on.
- Showerhead filter – Fits on your showerhead to reduce metals and irritants like chlorine and fluoride which can harm your hair and skin.
- Faucet Water Filter – This small device is installed on the faucet to give you clean water on demand.
- Water Filter Pitcher – One of the most popular water filters because of its affordability and portability. Filters water quickly in a two-compartment pitcher.
- Water Distillers – Purifies your water through evaporation and condensation. The taste of distilled water may not appeal to most people.
Quick Tip for Reducing Your Family’s Exposure to Lead
- Make sure to use filters that are NSF certified. The label on the filters will generally tell you that. NSF/ANSI 53 or NSF/ANSI 58 are what you should be looking for. Also check that lead is listed as one of the contaminants that the product reduces.
FAQs About Water Filters for Lead
Why is it necessary to change your lead water filter?
All filters have a specific life depending on your usage.
Filters should be regularly replaced to reduce lead and other contaminants that they are specified for.
Most filtration systems reduce contaminants in two ways
- By trapping contaminants in the pores of the filter.
- Or by adsorbing the contaminants to the surface of the filter media.
In both cases, the filter will eventually become saturated with contaminants and become ineffective.
When the pores become too clogged, the flow rate of the water will be reduced. However, it is a little difficult to figure out when the surface area of the filter media becomes saturated.
Manufacturers are required to state the capacity of the filter to get an NSF/ANSI 53 certification. The capacity of the filter is the volume of water that can pass through it before it should be changed.
You can check if your filter is certified by NSF International on their website.
What are NSF’s water filtration standards?
NSF/ANSI Standard 53 is the nationally recognized standard used for certifying drinking water systems that reduce contaminants. This is the standard usually found on water filters.
For water treatment systems that use reverse osmosis, the standard is NSF/ANSI Standard 58.
These standards are set to reduce contaminants like lead as per the specified requirements.
Will boiling water remove lead?
No, the lead will not be removed by boiling water as it does not vaporize.
On the other hand, hot water may increase the lead content. More lead dissolves in water that is at a higher temperature.
Distillation will remove lead from the water as it involves heating and condensing. Water that is boiled in the first compartment passes into the second compartment as steam.
This steam then condenses in the second compartment to give you clean water. Contaminants like lead, that do not vaporize will remain in the first compartment.
Is it safe to bathe in lead-contaminated water?
Yes, it is perfectly safe to bathe in lead-contaminated water as lead does not get absorbed into the skin.
Lead contamination in water is something to be taken seriously, especially if you have children.
The Flint incident has raised awareness about the harmful effects of lead contamination. People have therefore become more proactive about ensuring safe drinking water in their homes.
Even if tests on your water are clear, it’s still a good idea to have some sort of safety measures in place.
If you’re going in for a filtration system make sure that you go in for one that targets specific contaminants in your water. Don’t invest in a system that does not address your needs.