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Faster than Brita, but awkward shape and ineffective filter make it a no-go
on April 17, 2011
We use a Brita pitcher at our house, but we're always up for trying something that might be better -- especially a faster filter. As most Brita users can attest, you could practically make a loaf of bread in the time it takes for the Brita to filter a half-gallon of water. So I was excited to try the Filtrete pitcher, as we generally like 3M (the parent company) and their innovative designs. My review is a comparison of the Filtrete pitcher versus the Brita pitcher.
- The Filtrete is super-fast. I mean, WOW: you can run water into this baby like there's no tomorrow, and it passes right through into the basin.
- The Filtrete filter lasts longer (3 months) and has a higher capacity (100 gallons) than a Brita filter (2 months/40 gallons).
- Single Filtrete filters cost more than single Brita filters: it's around 13 bucks for a Filtrete and 9 bucks for a Brita. However, simply taking their respective water capacities into account (and not the superior quality of the Brita filter; more on that just below), the Filtrete is cheaper per gallon.
- Filtrete's biggest downside for me is that its filter isn't even in the same ballpark as the Brita in terms of the contaminants it removes from the water. Filtrete's filter removes only "chlorine and sediment," as noted on the package. On the other hand, the Brita filter removes lead, mercury, chlorine, copper, cadmium, and benzine. This might not be an issue for some people, but it's a deal-breaker for us. (Why bother buying a filter if it doesn't actually remove contaminants from the water?) I just can't bring myself to use an inferior filter, no matter how fast it is, when I can get healthier, better-quality water just by using a different brand.
- The Filtrete's spout is totally open and uncovered. I don't understand why 3M let this detail slip by them. We like to drink room-temperature water and thus keep our pitcher on top of the fridge; I don't want dust particles floating down into my drinking water.
- The shape and size of the Filtrete is cumbersome, awkward, ill-fitted to the door of a refrigerator, and, frankly, unattractive. It's shaped like a frisbee on top of a flower pot. With a handle. That's seriously the best way I can describe it. Granted, there's not much the 3M/Filtrete designers could have done to make this pitcher fit in the fridge any better (or look any better), because the pitcher's shape is dependent on the huge filter at the top.
- The large, frisbee-sized lid doesn't feel secure. Plus, it's somewhat difficult to grip, as you can only attach/detach it by a tiny little knob. You can forget about removing the lid if your fingers are wet or oily.
- I could never get the filter-change activator to work. I pressed it just like the directions said to, and it never "activated" (even after I went back and tried it again an hour later, and then again the next day, and the day after that), rendering itself totally useless.
- Neither of us could taste a difference between the Filtrete-filtered water and the Brita-filtered water.
Bottom line: With a Filtrete, you get a faster, lower-quality filter that may not fit in your fridge, with an uncovered spout, costing less money per gallon than a Brita. However, with a Brita, you get a slower, better-quality filter that will likely fit in your fridge, with a covered spout, costing more money per gallon than a Filtrete.
Honestly, I'd only recommend the Filtrete if you need a lot of "filtered" water very quickly. For us, the benefits of the Brita outweigh those of the Filtrete, so we're sticking with our Brita for now.