A countertop alkaline water filter is one of the best ways to get alkaline water on tap in your home. Accordingly, the most effective countertop systems – the systems we’ll focus on in this guide – rely on gravity to transform your tap water into alkaline ionized water. Essentially, they’re large versions of alkaline water filter pitchers.
Firstly, the greatest benefit of owning an alkaline countertop water filter is the ability to make large batches of alkaline water. One of the drawbacks of owning an alkaline pitcher is that you need to fill it more often. With a countertop system, you have the ability to make gallons of alkaline water and take it with you on the go.
There’s also the option to store your alkaline water in a glass pitcher or bottle inside your fridge instead of it sitting in a plastic pitcher all day. Now that you know a couple of the advantages of owning a countertop system, let’s jump into a comparison of the top-rated alkaline countertop water filters on the market.
Countertop Alkaline Water Filter Reviews
Now, let’s take a closer look at each system to make it easier for you to decide which one is the best for you. In each individual review, I go over the key features, highlights, replacement filter info, warranty info, and other helpful information.
After the reviews, I share our detailed buyer’s guide to help you get an even better idea of how countertop systems work, plus the pros and cons of owning one.
The Zen countertop system is the old faithful of alkaline countertop water filter systems. It’s also the most affordable unit with this type of design. You might have noticed while viewing the table above that the first three systems are very similar, and that’s because they are.
As I mentioned in the introduction, these gravity countertop systems are essentially larger, more powerful versions of alkaline water filter pitchers. The Zen incorporates a 7-stage filter to remove contaminants, boost pH, and enhance negative ORP. Negative ORP is the measure of the antioxidant potential of the filtered water. The higher the negative ORP the more anti-aging antioxidants you get.
The Seven Filtration Stages
- Micro-Ceramic Filter Dome
- Silver-Impregnated Granulated Activated Carbon
- Ion Exchange Resin
- Far Infrared Balls
- Silica Sand
- Mineral Sand
- Mineral Stones
The first 2 stages take care of contaminant removal while the final 5 stages boost negative ORP, alkaline mineral content, and pH. The .2-micron ceramic filter removes bacteria, pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful contaminants. The activated carbon removes chlorine, chloramine, solvents, and a long list of other common water contaminants.
One thing I like is the addition of silver filtration media. Silver has all-natural antibacterial properties and does a great job neutralizing any harmful bacteria that could be lurking in your tap water. The system is BPA-free and includes the first set of filters.
- Ceramic Filter – 1000 gallons or 1 year
- 5-Stage Mineral Cartridge – 500 gallons or 6 months
- Mineral Stone Case – Boil every six months and replace every 3 to 5 years
Overall, the Zen gravity system is a solid option and an upgrade over an alkaline pitcher. The Vitality model has a 4-gallon total capacity while the Rejuvenate is 6-gallon.
The Santevia Gravity system is very similar to the Zen system. The major differences are the Santevia system’s price and the added benefit of fluoride removal. If you’re someone who’s concerned about fluoride in your water, then the Santevia is undoubtedly a better choice for you.
Another difference I noticed between the Zen and Santevia systems is the micron rating. The Zen system incorporates .2-micron filtration while the Santevia system is .3-micron. I found this odd considering the Santevia costs a good chunk more, and it’s one of the reasons I ranked the Zen above the Santevia.
However, outside of the larger micron size, the Santevia filter is superior. This system uses a 9-stage filter compared to the 7-stage in the Zen.
The Nine Filtration Stages
- .3-Micron Ceramic Pre-Filter
- NSF-Certified Activated Alumina – Provides fluoride reduction up to 98%
- NSF-Certified Granular Activated Coconut Carbon – Similar to the Zen minus the silver-impregnation
- Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) – This type of filtration is powerful and one of the advantages of choosing this system
- Mineral Balls – Calcium, magnesium, and other alkaline trace minerals
- Mineral Stone Infusion – Porous Maifan rock oxygenates your drinking water
- Silica Sand – for additional pH boost and flavor enhancement
- Additional mineral balls
- Magnetic Energizer – Makes water easier for your body to absorb
- Ceramic Pre-Filter: 1 year
- Fluoride Filter: 4 months
- Mineral Filter: Up to 2 years
Overall, you get nearly the same micron rating with the Santevia system as the Zen, with the added bonus of fluoride removal and KDF for enhanced contaminant removal.
Want to learn more about this system? Read our complete Santevia review.
The AQUASPREE countertop filter is the third gravity system in my top 5, and it’s priced lower than the Santevia while slightly more than the Zen system. One of the differences I noticed while analyzing the AQUASPREE is the company installs the spigot for you, unlike the Santevia and Zen systems. AQUASPREE says they take this extra step to better protect against faucet leaks.
One thing I like about this system is the mineral stone filter that’s been dipped in liquid silver to kill any potential bacteria. You get a wide range of minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Similar to the Santevia system, the AQUASPREE filter also contains KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) for extra purification.
The Seven Filtration Stages
- .1 to .3-Micron Ceramic Filter Made of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) and Quartz Sand – Removes bacteria, parasites, sediment, and rust
- Ion Exchange Resin – Softens water and removes heavy metals
- Coconut Shell Activated Carbon – Removes VOCs, chlorine, pesticides, herbicides while enhancing the flavor of your drinking water
- Far Infrared Balls – Boost water pH and negative ORP
- KDF – Kills bacteria, removes chlorine, lead, mercury, and iron (prolongs the life of activated carbon)
- Mineral Stone Filter – Oxygenates water and further boosts pH with the alkaline minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, and others
- Magnetic Spigot – Makes water more absorbable
- Ceramic Filter – 1 year or 1000 gallons
- Main 4-Stage Filter – 6 months or 500 gallons
- Mineral Stone Filter – 1 year or 1000 gallons
Overall, the AQUASPREE offers several of the features in the Santevia system for a more affordable price. The major difference is no fluoride removal. For the price, this is a top countertop system and a worthy alternative to the Zen.
The pH RECHARGE 3F Alkaline Water Ionizer Machine is more a countertop alkaline water filter than an ionizer, however, Invigorated Water labels it an ionizer. Don’t let them fool you; this system is not an ionizer.
The pH RECHARGE has two filter options: PH001 alone or PH001 with the PH002 membrane filter upgrade. The difference is the PH002 membrane attaches to the PH001 filters to filter down to an impressive .01-micron level. The system includes a set of three PH001 filters to start.
What I like about this system is it’s the most affordable of the bunch and filters water the fastest. The 3-filter design prolongs the life of each filter and speeds up the filtration process.
Depending on your tap water, the first 3 systems can take hours or overnight to filter a full batch of water. At the same time, you don’t want your tap water to run through the system too quickly.
Another advantage of Invigorated Water filter products is the long filter life. One set of filters lasts over a year for a single person and about 9 months for couples. If you have a family of 4 or more, the estimated filter life is 3 months or 288 gallons.
The PH001 filter contains activated coconut shell carbon, zeolite, mineral balls, and micro-screens to block black carbon particles from entering your water – a common problem with Brita and PUR filters.
Another thing I like about the Invigorated Water filter is the addition of selenium to the alkaline mineral blend. Selenium is a proven antioxidant that gives your immune system a boost.
The filter removes fluoride, chlorine, VOCs, heavy metals, chloramine, lead, and other water contaminants. The materials are BPA-free and food-grade.
Overall, Invigorated Water is a trustworthy company that sells a high-quality line of alkaline water filter products. I like the pH RECHARGE 3F system as an affordable alternative to more expensive countertop water filtration systems.
The Nikken PiMag Waterfall gravity system is certainly the most unique option in our top 5. It’s also the most expensive of the 5 systems. What makes it better than the rest? Well to start, it’s definitely the most attractive option for your kitchen and built with the most premium materials.
Similar to the other units, the PiMage Waterfall relies on activated carbon to do the heavy lifting and mineral stones to boost water pH to the ideal pH for drinking water between 8.5 to 9.5.
The PiMag system received a Gold Seal of Approval from the Water Quality Association of America. You can be sure you’re drinking ultra-purified water that has a superior taste compared to conventional filtered water. The silver-impregnated filter removes chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, mercury, lead, and other common water contaminants.
One drawback is the lack of fluoride removal at this price point, which is one of the reasons we ranked PiMag as our #5 pick. This system also incorporates a magnet to make your drinking water more absorbable. One of the benefits of drinking alkaline water, in general, is it’s easier for our bodies to absorb.
In this guide, we’ll go over all the points to consider before you decide which system is best for you or if there’s a better alkaline water filter for your home. Let’s start with the installation procedure.
How to Install a Countertop Alkaline Water Filter
Installing a countertop alkaline water filter system is mostly straightforward. Here’s the procedure to follow once you receive your package:
- First, decide where you want to put your system (it’s best to place it away from direct sunlight to avoid algae growth inside the tanks)
- Open the package and inspect everything to ensure you received all the necessary parts
- With the soft side of a sponge, clean the tanks with mild soap
- Follow the instructions to prep the ceramic filter, mineral stones, and multi-stage filter
- Once you finish prepping your filters and stones, follow the included instructions to assemble your system properly
- Before you begin drinking water from your system, you’ll want to flush the filters
- The following video is a demonstration of how to set up your system by Santevia:
The Difference Between a Countertop System and an Alkaline Water Pitcher
You may be wondering what’s the difference between a countertop system and an alkaline water pitcher?
The main difference is the large ceramic filter that’s the first stage on most countertop systems. The ceramic filter is a powerful filter with tiny pores that does an excellent job of purifying your water before it goes through the activated carbon and remineralization stages.
Think of alkaline water pitcher filters as smaller versions of countertop filters minus the ceramic filter. The ceramic filter removes impurities down to .1 micron.
The second and more obvious difference is the tank capacity. Countertop systems make larger batches of alkaline water. Overall, a countertop system is better for large families or anyone who drinks a lot of water.
With a pitcher, you need to refill it more often. However, the advantage is you can store the pitcher in your fridge door without taking up valuable counter space.
If you think a pitcher is better for you, read our best alkaline water filter pitcher guide.
How to Choose the Best Countertop Alkaline Water Filter
Compared to alkaline water pitchers and water ionizers, there are fewer countertop systems available. Through my research, I concluded that the 5 systems in this guide are the best available.
Countertop systems all have the same type of filtration. The systems start with a ceramic filter and end with mineralization. Here are the main factors to consider when shopping for a countertop alkaline water filter.
#1 Tank Size
Keep in mind, the total capacity is not the same as the filtered water tank capacity (bottom tank). For example, the Santevia system has a total capacity of 4 gallons and a bottom tank capacity of 2.6 gallons.
While 2.6 gallons is more than enough daily drinking water for most families, it’s important to note the difference in case you plan to use your system for commercial purposes.
#2 Fluoride Removal
If you want to remove fluoride from your drinking water, stick with the Santevia system. Santevia added NSF-certified activated alumina to its filter to remove up to 98% of fluoride. The other systems won’t give you the same level of fluoride reduction.
A better option for fluoride removal is a reverse osmosis system for your home. Two advantages of a countertop system over an RO system with remineralization are more antioxidants and a healthier mineral profile.
#3 pH Range
Most countertop systems raise the pH of your tap water by 1 to 2 points on the pH scale. It’s best to test your tap water with a drinking water pH test kit before you buy a countertop system to ensure you get alkaline water with an optimum pH.
If your tap water is acidic, you may want to consider an ionizing water machine. The machines give you the ability to choose the pH of your alkaline ionized water.
#4 Warranty and Money-Back Guarantee
I recommend reading through the owner’s manual of your new system to get an idea of how the warranty works. Water filter products often include conditions in the manual that’ll void the warranty. Be sure to avoid these actions to keep your warranty intact.
#5 Negative ORP
Negative ORP is a measure of the number of antioxidants in your drinking water or oxidation-reduction potential (ORP). Water with negative ORP has an antioxidant effect on the body while water with a positive ORP has an oxidative effect. Most tap water has positive ORP, which is one of the many reasons that alkaline ionized water is better for your health.
A countertop alkaline water system makes negative ORP water. The main difference between a countertop system and an alkaline water machine is a water machine makes true ionized water with a higher negative ORP. Since countertop systems don’t use electricity, they rely on ion-exchange resin and reactions between your tap water and the minerals in the filter to make negative ORP water.
Always make sure the system you purchase is BPA-free. All the systems in my top 5 are BPA-free. If you decide a different system is the one for you, check if it’s BPA-free. Since the filtered water sits in a plastic reservoir, you want to avoid leaching any harmful chemicals from inferior plastics into your drinking water.
#7 Micron Rating
As I mentioned earlier, the ceramic filter does most of the heavy lifting to purify your water before it enters the multi-stage filter that contains activated carbon and alkaline minerals. Most bacteria are .5 microns or larger in diameter. For this reason, you want to ensure the micron rating of your ceramic filter has a pore size smaller than .5-micron.
The Santevia, Zen, and AQUASPREE systems all have micron ratings below .5-micron, with the AQUAPSREE having the smallest down to .1-micron. If you decide to purchase the pH RECHARGE 3F system, you can upgrade to the PH002 filters that have an impressive micron rating of .01.
The photo below provided by Zen gives you a better understanding of each filtration stage:
#8 Mineral Stones
The Santevia and Nikken systems both include mineral stones that sit in the filtered water reservoir to enhance the flavor of your water and further boost pH.
Here’s an example of Santevia’s stones:
#9 Replacement Filters
The ceramic filter in each system lasts longer than the multi-stage filter. Each ceramic filter lasts about 1 year. The good news is the ceramic filters cost about $30 to $40.
The multi-stage filter that contains activated carbon and minerals lasts about 6 months and costs roughly the same as a ceramic filter.
Overall, countertop system replacement filters are more affordable than pitcher replacements and water ionizer replacement filters. This is an important consideration if you want to keep the ongoing cost of your replacement filters low.
Pros and Cons
Here are the pros and cons of owning a countertop system over other alkaline water filters.
Countertop alkaline water filter systems are a great way to begin enjoying the health benefits of alkaline water without spending a big chunk of money on a water ionizer. What I like most about countertop systems over an alkaline pitcher is the addition of the ceramic filter that does a better job of trapping water contaminants before the water enters the multi-stage filter.
Another clear advantage of owning a countertop system is the cost of the replacement filters. Alkaline pitchers may seem like a more affordable option until you calculate the replacement filter costs. The ceramic filter in a countertop system extends the life of the multi-stage filter.
Despite the advantages of a countertop system, it’s not on par with a water ionizer. The best water ionizers provide molecular hydrogen benefits, pH control, acidic water for home/cosmetic uses, and more powerful alkaline antioxidant water.
Our top 5 picks for the best countertop alkaline water filter are currently the top options. It’s preferable to stick with one of these 5 systems if you decide a countertop system is best for you and your family.
Interested in more options for your home? Our alkaline water dispenser guide is another helpful resource.