If you have done your research, you know that a whole-house water filtration system is THE way to ensure water quality. However, not everyone needs to go this far. In many cases, a smaller endpoint filter is sufficient. For instance, if your water quality isn’t that bad, a small-scale device should be enough. The two most common options in this department are under sink water filters and countertop models.

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Let’s compare them and their features so that you can decide which is best for you!

Under-Sink Filters: The Pros

  1. One of the most obvious benefits of under sink water filters is invisibility. Unless someone comes into your house and starts rummaging in your kitchen cabinets, they won’t to see your filter unit. Under sink filters aren’t ugly, but many people just don’t want their home to look like a water treatment plant.
  2. Filters that get installer under the kitchen sink also do not take up any space on your countertop, which is a nice advantage in top.
  3. Because it is installed in a relatively spacious and secluded space, an under-sink filter can be significantly larger and more complex than a countertop model. To put it another way: The cabinet under your sink is probably larger than your countertop space; and you probably aren’t using it for anything important anyway…
  4. Under sink water filtration systems are not necessarily more effective than countertop models, but they have the potential to be. The key is to go for as many stages of filtration as possible.
  5. Most water filtration systems will affect the rate of water flow, but under sink units are not known to affect it much.
  6. Because they are connected directly to the sink, the filtered water doesn’t need to travel very far. So, you will not find yourself standing at the sink waiting for water all day.

Under-Sink Filters: The Cons

  1. One definite disadvantage with an under sink water filter is the price. They tend to be cheaper than whole-house filters, but not by much. They are significantly more expensive than countertop models, although you might get lucky and find an exception. Of course, it also depends on how deep you want to go with this project. Just know that if your water quality is very poor, you don’t want to go with a cheap option.
  2. Installation is another slight con. If you aren’t good with plumbing, you might even have to pay someone to install the system for you. It shouldn’t cost a whole lot but it does affect your budgeting. More money spent for installation means less money you can put into the filtration unit itself. Thus, under-sink filters are best left to those who know how to install them without help.
  3. The biggest problem comes from the need for a dedicated faucet. Most standard faucets are not up to the task, so under-sink units will often include an extra one. This means drilling a hole through the top of your sink and connecting the faucet. Hooking up the water lines isn’t that hard, but it is possible to ruin your countertop if you aren’t careful.

Countertop Filters: The Pros

  1. Countertop water filters offer a lot of convenience at a low price. If you want something that works with little to no setup, this is a good type of device to consider. In many cases, you don’t even have to connect the device to your faucet. You simply open the reservoir and fill it with tap water which is then filtered on demand. Even the units which hook to your faucet should not require any sort of plumbing knowledge. The smaller units can often be attached to the faucet itself.
  2. When you are not filtering large amounts of water, a countertop unit can prove to be ideal. It gives you an on-demand source of clean water that can be trusted. If this is all you need, go countertop!
  3. We should also mention portability. A countertop filter can be brought along wherever you go. Smaller units are ideal for this. However, even the larger systems can easily fit in the trunk of any car. So, let’s say you are taking a vacation in a place with less-than-ideal water quality. Instead of drinking from the tap in your hotel room, you can quickly install a countertop filter and enjoy the same quality that you enjoy at home.

Countertop Filters: The Cons

  1. A countertop water filtration system does not have the subtlety of an under-sink unit. They generally won’t involve a bunch of hoses and visible mechanisms, but they aren’t exactly the most aesthetic things in the world, either.
  2. They can also take up a significant amount of countertop space which you may need for other things. People with limited room on their kitchen counter won’t be happy about this.
  3. Countertop systems also don’t offer the same level of filtration that you would get from an under-sink device. The water is certainly safe to drink, but not everything that should get removed will actually be removed. Some contaminants can take years to show their effects. For safety reasons, countertop filters should be used only in cases where the water quality is not dangerously bad.
  4. Filtration speed is another thing to consider. Cheaper countertop units will often take more time to filter the water, especially if the filter cartridge is old. We aren’t talking about long wait times here, but it can get slightly annoying.
  5. This is yet another reason that we recommend countertop units for small-scale and low-requirement uses. If you are dealing with some serious contamination, then you will need a more serious product than this.

Under Sink vs. Countertop: Who Wins?

In summary, it is fair to say that both under sink water filters as well as countertop water filters exist for good reasons. Some people only need to improve their water quality slightly while others are dealing with serious contamination. Chances are, your situation falls somewhere in the middle of both extremes.

In the end, it is up for you to decide which option to choose. Do you prefer an easy to install and easy to use countertop system or a more complex under sink unit for more thorough filtration?