Welcome to our Brita vs PUR vs Zero Water comparison and complete analysis. We promise that by the time you finish this article, you’ll know for sure which of these companies makes the best water filter for your home, or perhaps you’ll realize that there are better alternatives. Most of us are familiar with Brita and PUR filters, while Zero is a relatively new name.
Our comprehensive analysis includes a spec comparison, replacement filter information, current customer reviews for each pitcher, and our final decision. I’ll tell you now that we have some intriguing information for you below, particularly about the ZeroWater filter brand.
Let’s start with the pitcher models we’ll be comparing and the specs for each.
Brita vs PUR vs Zero Water: Feature Comparison
Brita Grand (10-Cup)
PUR Ultimate (11-Cup)
- Of the three brands, Brita is the only company that appears on the WQA website. The WQA lists which NSF/ANSI standards a filter complies with along with the official list of contaminants. Oddly enough, PUR states that its filters are WQA-certified and independently NSF-certified. When we searched for PUR on the official WQA website, they didn’t show up. ZeroWater is not listed on the official WQA website either.
- Neither ZeroWater nor PUR post the independent lab test results for their filters on their websites.
- ZeroWater filters have the shortest filter life. At only 220 ppm (tap water reading), the filter lasts for just 25 gallons. If you have hard city water or well water, you’ll run through filters in weeks, not months.
- All three companies use the same types of filter media, with ZeroWater having the largest filter.
- The ZeroWater pitcher includes a TDS meter.
Brita vs PUR vs Zero Water Replacement Filters
We already know that ZeroWater filters are going to need replacing more often than PUR and Brita filters. Below, we include all the available filter options for each brand.
Brita Standard (2, 3, 4, 6, 8 Packs)
Brita Longlast (1 and 2 Packs)
PUR Basic (1, 2, 4 Packs)
PUR Lead-Reducing (3 Packs)
ZeroWater (1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 12 Packs)
- We compared the prices between 3-packs of Brita Standard, PUR Lead-Reducing, and ZeroWater filters. Brita Standard filters are the most affordable of the three.
- A 3-pack of ZeroWater replacement filters costs roughly 3x the amount of a Brita Standard 3-pack. Keep in mind, ZeroWater filters have a shorter life, which equals big bucks over time for replacement filters. We believe ZeroWater’s filters are its bread and butter and outrageously priced to boot.
- If you have well water or city water with high concentrations of lead, a 3-pack of PUR Lead-Reducing filters is fairly priced at only a few bucks more than a 3-pack of Brita Standard filters. Brita Longlast filters remove lead, although the negative reviews are a big turnoff.
Brita, PUR & ZeroWater Reviews
As part of our analysis process, we perform a deep dive into current owner reviews to identify positive and negative trends for the products we review. Here’s what we found:
Brita Grand Pitcher Reviews
- There are numerous recent reviews written by unhappy customers who purchased a set of Longlast filters. According to users, the filters clog or filter very slowly. Most people recommend sticking with Brita Standard filters for a better experience.
- A handful of owners complained about the lid falling off when they pour. This is an age-old Brita problem that I remember dealing with over a decade ago at college.
- Most owners are happy with the taste of their Brita filtered water, confirming that it removes that icky chlorine taste.
- Overall, more than half of Brita owners are very pleased, and there’s a smaller percentage of one-star reviews than ZeroWater received.
PUR Ultimate Pitcher Reviews
- Similar to the Brita Longlast filter, the PUR lead-reducing filter has negative reports regarding a super-slow filtering process.
- There’s a load of complaints about the pitcher leaking. One satisfied owner advised potential buyers to avoid filling the pitcher to the brim to avoid this issue.
- Owners who rated the pitcher five stars said the filtered water tastes great.
- Similar to Brita, there are reports of the lid falling off when pouring.
- Of the three pitchers, PUR Ultimate has the worst 5-star/one-star review ratio with only 10% more 5-star reviews than one-star. This is not the type of ratio we look for when we choose a water filter to recommend.
ZeroWater Pitcher Reviews
- Numerous owners reported that ZeroWater filters last just one week. Zero advises users to measure their filtered water to ensure the TDS reading is below 6, and once it’s 6 or above, it’s time for a new filter. They also openly admit that their filtered water will have an acidic or slightly fishy taste once the TDS hits 6. This is unacceptable for us and disgusting to imagine. There are much better alternatives that’ll cost you significantly less in the long run.
- One ZeroWater pitcher owner said the filtered water tastes great compared to Brita, and the filters do last longer if you start with high-quality municipal water.
- One New York woman said Zero water tastes amazing.
- Several ZeroWater owners reported problems with the spout design.
- One ZeroWater owner recommended using the pitcher for camping, which we find to be the best use for it.
- Overall, reviews are mixed for the ZeroWater pitcher, yet weigh more in the positive direction.
The Winner Is…
After completing our analysis, we chose our winner. The winner is…
Why did we choose Brita?
- Overall, we were underwhelmed by all three filters. Brita is the most affordable of the three, and when shopping for these brands, you’re essentially buying the same thing with different designs and prices. All three products use the same types of filter media.
- ZeroWater replacement filters are ridiculously overpriced and will cost you an arm and a leg unless you have high-quality, low TDS tap water. Why not just drink your tap water if it’s high-quality instead of removing essential minerals from it with the ZeroWater filter?
- Brita received the most 5-star reviews compared to one-star of the three brands.
- Brita filters are listed on the WQA website and NSF/ANSI certified through the WQA. We couldn’t find ZeroWater or PUR on the WQA website, nor does either company post its independent lab results publicly.
- One final word of caution, beware of the Brita Longlast filter clogging problem. We recommend checking the most recent reviews before you buy to see what current owners are saying.
The ZeroWater 2010 Lawsuit
In 2010, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) filed a lawsuit against Zero Water Technologies, LLC, for essentially slandering bottled water products and misleading consumers.
I’ve personally studied, researched, and examined water filtration technology every day for over a year now. Over this period, I’ve learned a ton about it, which has granted me the ability to differentiate between good and bad products. When I first looked at the ZeroWater filter, it screamed gimmick to me. Everything in the 2010 lawsuit makes perfect sense.
ZeroWater is convincing people that 0 TDS equals contaminant-free water, and this is 100% untrue. Additionally, people should drink water with healthy essential minerals in it. It irks me when I read reviews written by people who correlate the TDS level to the quality of their water.
The only way to know what’s in water for sure is to have it professionally tested by a certified lab. Water with a very low TDS of 0 can still be contaminated with toxic substances. For this reason, ZeroWater doesn’t post its lab results publicly because then people would be able to see what’s actually in the water.
The video below featuring Matt from Water Nerd TV explains why using a TDS meter to measure water quality is unwise:
Brita, PUR & ZeroWater Alternatives
Water filter pitchers are one of the last home water filtrations options we recommend. They’re great because they’re portable and easy to use, which is the main reason we recommend them in our guide to choosing the best water filter for your apartment. However, if you’re a homeowner, there are significantly better options.
Are you interested in the ZeroWater pitcher? Well, here’s a better option. Considering investing in an under sink reverse osmosis system. You’ll save money on replacement filters in the long run and cover the upfront cost of the system compared to constantly replacing a ZeroWater filter.
Additionally, an RO system will truly remove all contaminants from your water. The ZeroWater filter is simply no match for a reverse osmosis membrane.
We also do not recommend 0 TDS water or plain RO water for long-term drinking. It’s not that you need the minerals in water since most people get their daily mineral needs from their food. It’s that demineralized water is like a dry sponge ready to soak up essential minerals. This is why professionals believe that it may leach minerals from the body.
One study found that cooking with demineralized water significantly reduces the essential mineral content in cooked food. For this reason, our list of best reverse osmosis systems only includes systems with remineralization.
There are better water filter pitchers than Brita, PUR, and ZeroWater. Our top-rated water filter pitcher is the Seychelle pH2O. It does the best job of removing water contaminants while leaving essential minerals intact, leading to a better-tasting healthier water than other pitchers offer.
The Waterdrop Extream Pitcher is another worthy budget alternative.
We recommend proceeding with caution when investing in the three pitchers compared above. In the battle of Brita vs PUR vs ZeroWater, we did choose Brita as the winner, but that doesn’t mean we recommend it. There are better options available.
Water filtration is one of those things that’s not worth skimping on, especially considering the low cost of superior systems. A quality reverse osmosis system with remineralization costs under $200, and it’s easy to install for most people. There are also countertop water filtration systems that are better than filter pitchers and suitable for renters as well as homeowners.
The bottom line is we recommend steering clear of Brita, PUR, and ZeroWater unless they’re your last resort.