Brita water filters are the indisputable market leaders in the pour-through water filter market, with an estimated 70% of the overall market. Since 1988, when Brita was licensed to be sold in North America, they have dominated the industry. To many, Brita is synonymous with water filter pitchers, thanks in large part to their market share, decades of successful marketing, low cost, and availability in a vast number of retail locations. However, we feel that there are better options on the market, namely our overall favorite, the MAVEA Elemaris water pitcher.
Do Brita filters work?
In short, the answer is yes. Brita filters are certified by NSF International, including NSF/ANSI Standards 42 and 53. In short, this means that Brita filters are able to remove significant amounts of harmful contaminants from your water, including chlorine and several harmful metals.
Brita filters are also able to filter water quickly. In fact, during our testing we found that the Brita filter was actually the fastest at filtering a cup of water out of all 5 water filter pitchers we tested.
Brita filters are also quite inexpensive. While the prices will vary depending on where you are buying (and what the current deals or promotions are), overall Brita filters offer among the lowest cost per cup of water filtered.
The filters for a Brita water pitcher are also easy to find, which makes replacing them notably easier than for some of the less well-known brands.
What we didn’t like about the Brita pitcher
While there are certainly things to like about the Brita water filter pitcher, there were several issues we found while testing them.
First (and arguably most importantly), Brita filters simply do not filter as well as other filters on the market, according to certifications like the ones provided by NSF International.
ZeroWater filters, for example, are able to reduce significantly more contaminants from the water, while MAVEA filters work better than Brita filters and are able to filter at a more consistent rate for the life of each individual water filter.
We also found the Brita 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher to be bulky and cumbersome to carry and use. Whether we were carrying the pitcher to or from the sink, or simply pouring water into the glass, it felt like there was a lack of attention to detail when designing the Brita pitcher.
As other publications have noted, Brita water filter pitchers are not exactly the type of product you would feature on a magazine cover, or even at a dinner party. While this isn’t the most important consideration when purchasing a water filter pitcher, the fact that there are other products which look better and filter better as well is worth noting.
The Brita water filter’s place in the market
There is no doubt that the Brita water filter is the undisputed market leader. The combination of low cost filters and pitchers, nearly three decades in the North American market, and a series of successful marketing and retail placement campaigns have ensured that Brita will be a popular water filter brand for many years to come.
Brita’s competitors are fighting for a comparatively small slice of the market. ZeroWater in particular has targeted and focused on the higher end of the market, while still keeping their filters reasonably affordable — though they are more expensive than Brita filters.
Other brands, like MAVEA, are fighting for some of the same market share as Brita. While MAVEA is fighting against an entrenched incumbent and literally decades of brand recognition, the impressive ergonomics and water filter quality of the MAVEA brand have allowed them to eke out a small but growing segment of the market.
Time will tell if Brita is able to remain the market leader, or if they will gradually lose market share to competitors like ZeroWater (now the #2 brand in pour-through water filter pitchers) and MAVEA.
How do Brita filters compare to others?
Although it doesn’t tend to market itself as such, Brita is effectively the “discount brand” in the water filter pitcher market. In addition to being among the least expensive, it is simple, reliable, and virtually ubiquitous.
Brita vs. PUR
Pur is another popular brand, primarily in the sink filter market. We weren’t particularly impressed with it because filtration time was notably slow, and many of our taste testers found the water to taste “artificial”.
The PUR 7 Cup Pitcher is similar to the Brita pitcher, in the sense that it isn’t particularly ergonomic or visually appealing.
If you’re choosing between a Brita pour-through water filter pitcher or one by PUR, we would recommend Brita.
Brita vs. MAVEA
Both the Brita and MAVEA filters use similar technology. This makes sense, given that the MAVEA brand is the same team that was behind the launch of Brita water filters in North America in the late 1980s.
Despite their similarities and shared history, the minds at MAVEA have clearly evolved their water filters over the years. According to our research and testing, water filtered by MAVEA water filters tastes better, and MAVEA’s water pitcher design is more ergonomic and visually appealing.
Brita vs. ZeroWater
Brita and ZeroWater are the two industry leaders in the pour-through water filter pitcher market, with Brita owner the vast majority of that market (around 70%).
That being said, Brita and ZeroWater occupy vastly different segments of the market. While Brita water filters are inexpensive and able to filter water very quickly, ZeroWater filters are more expensive and are able to reduce contaminants in the water to effectively zero.
The bottom line: Brita wins on cost and speed, while ZeroWater wins on water quality and ergonomics.
Should you buy a Brita water filter pitcher?
If you want a water filter pitcher that is cheap and ubiquitous, Brita is certainly worthy of consideration. There’s a reason why Brita water filters have been popular for so long.
That being said, we do think that there are better options on the market.
The ZeroWater 10-Cup Pitcher utilizes the more effective ZeroWater filter, is more ergonomic, and includes a spout for easy pouring while leaving the pitcher in the refrigerator.
We also found the MAVEA Elemaris XL 9-Cup Pitcher to be the best product overall, when everything from ergonomics, to filter quality, to cost were taken into consideration.
For a more detailed look into why we feel that both the MAVEA water filter and the ZeroWater filter are better options for you, please take a look at our extensive review of the five best water filter pitchers on the market.