Filtering lead out of drinking water

Clean drinking water is key to staying healthy, which is why the water in developed countries goes through a multi-step treatment process before it makes its way to your tap. Thanks to this, you can fill up your glass at the sink, and what comes out is generally considered safe to drink. However, it might not be as free from contaminants as you may think. Arsenic, copper, aluminum, lead, iron, and pesticides and herbicides are commonly found in the tap water in home faucets.

With this in mind, many people take matters into their own hands and buy Brita water filters. The question then becomes, are Brita water filters capable of removing lead and other contaminants that get past municipal treatment facilities? In this article, we answer that question and more.

How do Brita filters work?

The first thing to understand about Brita water filters is that they are not all created equal. Some are more effective at removing specific contaminants than others. Let’s look at the various Brita water filters and how they each work.

Brita standard filter

The Brita standard filters are the cylindrical white containers with which most people are familiar. These use a mesh screen to catch visible particles and activate carbon granules to reduce mercury levels and eliminate chlorine odor and taste. The water passes through ion exchange resin that essentially acts like a magnet to catch copper, cadmium and zinc. You may have noticed there was no mention of lead here. That is because standard Brita filters do not remove lead.

Brita Longlast+ filter

The Longlast+ makes use of a proprietary pleated filter combined with active filtering agents. This single-stage process offers a faster flow-through rate than the company’s standard filters, so you won’t have to wait as long to fill your pitcher or dispenser, and it catches more contaminants. The Longlast+ is capable of removing lead, as well as asbestos and benzene. However, the downside is that it cannot remove copper and zinc.

Brita stream filter

The stream filter is less effective than either the standard or Longlast+. It utilizes a dual-layer of activated carbon to remove chlorine odor and taste, and catch coarse particles of 50 micrometers or larger.

Brita bottle filter

As with the stream filter, Brita bottle filters use carbon to remove chlorine odor and taste and catch large particles.

Brita faucet filter

The Brita faucet filter is the only other model besides the Longlast+ that is capable of removing lead. It utilizes a non-woven material to catch particles and sediment. There is also a tightly bound carbon block to reduce chlorine odor and taste, benzene, asbestos and lead. It is the company’s only filter capable of removing pesticides and herbicides, but also as with the Longlast+, it does not reduce copper and zinc levels in the water. The faucet filter also won’t help with lowering mercury or cadmium levels.

Which Brita water filter should you buy?

buy a kit to test your water

The decision for which Brita water filter to buy comes down to what contaminants you want to remove from your tap water. If your only concern is lead, your obvious choice is to pick the Longlast+ or the Brita faucet filter. However, this may potentially leave you open to ingesting copper and zinc, or in the case of the faucet filter, copper, zinc, mercury and cadmium.

Your best bet is first to buy a kit to test your water so you can find out exactly what type of contaminants are in your water. Then, purchase the specific Brita filter that can remove them.

What you need to buy for lead-free drinking water using a Brita system

Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter System

Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter System

If you want clean, lead-free water on demand without waiting, the Brita Basic Faucet system is the right choice. It attaches easily to all standard home faucets and can filter up to 100 gallons of water before it needs replacing. The downside is that it’s a bit bulky, potential getting in the way when you’re washing dishes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Home Depot

Brita Longlast Monterey

Brita Longlast Monterey

An attractive option that can easily fit in most refrigerators, the Monterey holds up to 10 cups and includes the Longlast+ filter. It is crafted from BPA-free material, available in four colors and features a flip-up lid for easy filling.

Where to buy: Sold by AmazonBed Bath & Beyond and Home Depot

Brita Longlast UltraMax

Brita Longlast UltraMax

If you have a large family or simply drink a lot of water, the Monterey will probably be too small for your needs. Instead, you should consider the UltraMax, which has an 18-cup capacity. It also features an electronic indicator that reminds you when it’s time to replace the filter. You should note, though, that it will take up significant of fridge space.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.