Both Brita and ZeroWater filters make tap water safe to drink. However we wanted to know which was the best option for consumers. After more than 30 hours of research and testing, including several hours comparing just Brita and ZeroWater, we’ve determined that the ZeroWater 10-Cup Pitcher is the better choice of the two, and is also one of the better filters on the market.
In order to determine the best water filter pitcher on the market, we tested five the of the leading water filter pitchers, and compared them against one another.
This review will focus on the differences between the Brita water filter and the ZeroWater filter, however if you’d like to read our full report on the best water filter pitcher, we encourage you to do so as well.
Our Pick: The ZeroWater 10-Cup Pitcher
The ZeroWater 10-Cup Pitcher produces the cleanest, safest, and purest water of all the water filter pitchers we tested.
In order to compare the Brita and ZeroWater filter pitchers, we used four primary metrics: water filter quality, ergonomics, water filter speed, and a taste test. We also used our general impressions of the product during everyday use over the course of a month of in-home testing.
Water filter quality
When buying a water filter pitcher, the first and most important metric is whether or not the filter actually creates safe, clean water to drink. Both Brita and ZeroWater have received certifications from NSF International, which ensures that both are able to remove lead and other specific harmful materials from municipal tap water.
However, both NSF International and other reports have determined that the ZeroWater filter is significantly better than other filters on the market — Brita included — when it comes to removing virtually all harmful contaminants from tap water.
This is because ZeroWater utilizes a 5-stage filter, which acts similarly to a reverse-osmosis system. The ZeroWater filter replaces ions in the water, which effectively eliminates all dissolved solids in the water that is filtered through. This is why ZeroWater (accurately) reports that their water has zero “dissolved” solids — a point they prove by including a TDS tester with their 10-cup pitcher.
The Brita filter, on the other hand, utilizes an industry standard two-stage activated carbon filtration system. It’s worth noting that this filter is an industry standard largely because Brita popularized the water filter when the brand first started selling in North America in 1988.
Nevertheless, when it comes to a straight comparison of which water filter works best, it is largely undisputed that ZeroWater filters are the best in this industry segment.
Ergonomics of each water filter pitcher
The ergonomic of a water filter pitcher are important as well. A water pitcher should be easy to hold and easy to pour. In addition, the pre-filtered water reservoir should be large enough to fill at least half of the pitcher.
Both the Brita and ZeroWater pitcher reservoirs were able to fill at least half of the pitcher itself, so we looked at the remaining ergonomic factors to differentiate between the two.
We found the Brita pitcher to be somewhat awkward to hold and pour. The weight doesn’t feel particularly balanced, particularly in conjunction with the handle itself. Overall, the Brita pitcher feels like a simple, utilitarian product without much emphasis placed on aesthetic or ergonomic elements.
While we don’t expect the ZeroWater pitcher to be winning any awards for artistic inspiration, we did find the ZeroWater pitcher to be a more ergonomic experience overall. In addition to being easier to hold and to pour, the handle felt more comfortable in our hands.
In addition, the ZeroWater 10-Cup Pitcher has a spout on the bottom of the pitcher, which makes it easier to pour water into a glass without taking the pitcher out of the refrigerator completely.
For young children or the elderly, both of which can sometimes struggle with wrist strength, we think the ZeroWater pitcher is a better option.
Water filter speed
The next metric we measured was the amount of time each water filter took, on average, to filter one cup of water. While water quality and ergonomics are certainly more important considerations, we still found that the ability to filter water reasonably quickly was valuable, particularly for anyone having guests over.
This is one area in which the Brita water filter really stood out. We found the Brita water filter did its job significantly faster than the rest of our finalists, averaging just 40 seconds per cup of water filtered.
Our ZeroWater filter, on the other hand, was on the other end of the spectrum with an average of one minute and 50 seconds per cup of water filtered — second only to the incredibly slow PUR water filter, which averaged an astonishing three minutes and 50 seconds per cup of water filtered.
Water filter taste test
Comparing the taste of two different water filters is difficult, largely because it is simply so subjective. Nevertheless, we did set up a taste test, and found that Brita beat ZeroWater overall.
The first score was based on positive taste attributes (clean, pure, refreshing, etc.), with a maximum of 30 points possible. Brita earned a positive score of 21.125, while ZeroWater received a score of 20.8125.
The second score was based on negative taste attributes (dirty, artificial), with a maximum score of 10 (lower is better). Brita earned a negative score of 3.75, while ZeroWater received a score of 3.875.
Ultimately, while Brita did beat ZeroWater in both categories, the differences in each score were fairly minor.
Which water filter is best?
Both the ZeroWater and Brita water filter pitchers each have compelling arguments in their favor. Both are certified by NSF International to remove harmful materials, such as lead and other metals, from the water.
Both Brita and ZeroWater also offer a recycling program, which helps prevent unnecessary materials from ending up in a landfill. However, it’s worth noting that ZeroWater offers $5 per filter shipped back to them, whereas Brita only offers free shipping.
With everything considered, we found the ZeroWater 10-Cup Pitcher to be the better choice overall. The ZeroWater pitcher simply utilizes better filtration technology (according to the experts), and is overall more ergonomic.
The Brita 10-Cup Pitcher uses less expensive — and less effective — water filters. It is also able to filter water more quickly. If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive water purifying solution, the Brita filter is a worthwhile product to consider.
However, if you want the best water you can get, without spending thousands of dollars on a reverse-osmosis system, ZeroWater is the way to go.