My parents were both biochemists, so my experience growing up was a little different than most. While all of my friends were filling their glasses from the tap, we had to boil all our water and pour water into empty glass orange juice bottles in the fridge. I didn’t really get it, but it became a habit.
I have a lot to thank my parents for, but this habit was definitely one of them. Now, most of us know the dangers that float around in our aging pipes, from runoff from pesticides and fertilizer to chemicals like arsenic, copper, lead, nitrate, and radon.
Today, I’ve gotten into the habit of boiling my water and then running it through a filter system. I tend to drink spring water when I can, but use filtered water for things like cooking and for filling my humidifier.
For years I used Brita. But as with every other successful American brand, I watched in sadness as more and more of the pitchers were made in China, and then the filters themselves were. I’ve mentioned in multiple posts that as a rule, anything that goes into my body is not going through China, and that applies here.
Happily there are options. Being a realist, I know that the real reason that most of these brands I’m going to mention do NOT manufacture in China is not out of principle, but simply because they haven’t reached the level of success that Brita has. But let’s hope and pray that once they do, they’ll decide to make things here in the USA again, or at the very least in a country that’s not the world’s largest polluter.
Best Water Filters Not Made in China
ZeroWater is a great example of American ingenuity. While most people might have ceded domination of the industry to Brita, ZeroWater came up with a better mousetrap.
Specifically, Brita has a two-stage filtration system which removes some but not all total dissolved solids. ZeroWater has a five-stage system which removes 99.6% of TDS, including Lead, Chromium, PFOA/PFOS, and even flouride. ZeroWater is so confident in their system that they include a TDS testing device with their units.
As with Brita, you can purchase ZeroWater Dispensers or Pitchers
Their “Ready-Read” dispensers have a traditional spigot that you can flip up and down, and come in the following sizes:
- 52 Cup Dispenser (on Amazon)
- 32 Cup Dispenser (on Amazon)
- 22 Cup Dispenser (on Amazon)
- 12 Cup Dispenser
Their “Ready-Pour” dispenser has a push button design to dispense water:
Their Amazon listings list most of their products as being made in Mexico (although their pitchers are listed as made in China). I was able to confirm this from the label of the 22 Cup Dispenser that I purchased.
Reading the reviews more carefully, it appears that components come from China, India, the United States, and Mexico, and the final assembly is done in Mexico. While I would have preferred if China were not in the mix, at least they’re not like Brita in that everything is done in China.
Something else I like is that their replacement filters are definitely made in Mexico.
Aquaphor is an odd one. First of all, they named themselves after a healing ointment. But after you get over that, it’s tricky to find out where they make their products.
Aquaphor’s main business is in building water filtration solutions for houses, businesses, and big industry. Their drinking water filters is their way of dipping their toes into the market. One of the differentiator’s they’re shooting for is adding a touch of style to the boring, boxy precedent that Brita established. The 12-cup “Opal” pitcher you see pictured above is a good example.
For some reason they don’t list the country of origin on their product listing, but I contacted them and their representative confirmed that it’s made in Estonia. An online review I found showed a picture of the box, which confirms this. You’d think that having production in an EU country would be something they’d proudly share with the rest of us.
More importantly, the Amazon product listing for their replacement filters clearly states that they are made in Estonia. Even better: Aquaphor filters work with Brita dispensers, so they’re a great choice to use on your old Brita pitchers and dispensers. Or, if you prefer to keep using Brita filters, buy an Aquaphor pitcher (which looks infinitely better) and use Brita filters in it.
As for Brita, unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to tell where they are made these days. Most indications are that they’re being made in Canada, but their Amazon presence is such a mess that if you select the 2, 4, or 8 count the country of origin says “Canada” but if you select the 3 or 6 count is says “China”. From my own experience it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll get one made in Canada, but this kind of sloppiness on their product page is just reinforcement that Brita really doesn’t care what you think.
Seychelle has been around for years, but it’s a relatively new entrant to the marketplace for consumer water filtration.
They sell four products on their Web site, two of which are available on Amazon:
- A regular water pitcher that filters out contaminants
- A water pitcher that filters out contaminants AND increases the alkalinity of your water to of pH of up to 9.5. This is also available for purchase on Amazon along with replacement filters.
- A water pitcher that filters out all the contaminants the others do, along with radioactive contaminants in the event of a nuclear emergency.
- A water bottle that produces both filtration and adds alkaline to your water, along with replacement filters.
Seychelle pH Filters are tested to remove up to 99.99% of the following zones of contamination:
Aesthetic contaminants: Unpleasant taste, odors, cloudiness, silt and chlorine
Chemical contaminants: VOC’s, toxic chemicals, trihalomethanes, PFOA, PFOS, PCB’s, glyphosate, herbicides, detergents, pesticides (DDT), benzene, atrazine and many more
Inorganic contaminants: Heavy metals, aluminum, asbestos, cadmium, chromium 6, copper, arsenic, nitrates & nitrites, lead, mercury and up to 90% fluoride
Radiological contaminants: Radon 222 (the radiological version adds gross alpha, gross beta to what it can filter out).
Here’s the coolest thing about this company. All of their bottles, pitchers, AND filters are made in the USA.
PUR is another brand that popped up to compete with Brita. PUR is owned by Helen of Troy Limited, the holding company that owns brands like OXO and Vicks home appliances. Given how those brands have long since sold out to China, I don’t hold a lot of hope
Strangely, in a reversal of ZeroWater’s Amazon listings, PUR’s dispensers are listed as made in China, while their old 7 Cup Pitcher and their 11 Cup Pitcher are listed as made in Mexico. But honestly, I think all of their Amazon listings are just messed up.
I read on another retail site that a representative from PUR explained that the pitchers are made in Mexico and the USA with parts from China, so it seems they’re in a very similar situation as ZeroWater.
Like ZeroWater, they are unequivocal in stating that their filters are made in Mexico.
This is not one I had on my bingo card. For the last decade, the Amazon Basics HAS been little more than Amazon lending its brand name to China manufacturers to give them credibility so that they and Amazon could crush all competition, especially manufacturing outside of China.
But this is something I’ve never seen before. The country of origin is listed as “United Kingdom”. At first I thought that had to be a typo, but sure enough in the product copy it says “Designed and Made in Europe”.
This might be the first, and the last, Amazon Basics product I recommend. I hope that it’s a sign that Amazon is diversifying and lending its name to truly great products, and not just to the cheapest manufacturer that will give it the highest margins and prop up an evil regime.
Obviously I don’t recommend their dispensers. Get one from Aquaphor.
Do you know of other water filter systems that are not made in China? Let us know in the comments!
- water filters