Lead in drinking water is "one of the greatest environmental threats we face as a country."
So said Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA in early 2018.
He also said that the agency hopes to eliminate the problem in the next ten years, but apparently there is no plan in place to accomplish that goal. Hmm.
Are you concerned about lead in your drinking water?
If so, I have a suggestion for you. Don't wait around for the government to fix the problem for you. You might be waiting for a long, long time.
Keep reading to find out why lead is so harmful and how you can keep it out of your drinking water.
You'll also learn about the types of water filters that are good for removing lead. There's a variety to pick from, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding one that's right for you.
You can click on a question in the quick navigation below, or keep scrolling down to read the whole article.
Comparison Table: Best Water Filters for Removing Lead
Lead % Removal
Lifetime on stainless steel parts; 1 year on filters
Clearly Filtered Pitcher
2 years on housing;
30 days on filter
Clearly Filtered 3 Stage
Under Sink Filter
How does lead affect the human body?
Lead, a heavy metal, has no function whatsoever in human biology. It's a toxin that can cause serious health problems.
Exposure to small amounts of lead might not do a lot of damage to adults. But that same amount can do serious harm to infants and children.
According to the EPA:
In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells. (source)
Lead in pregnant women can also cause premature birth and/or reduced growth of their babies.
Adults are affected, too. Lead can cause a whole host of problems, including hypertension, kidney failure, memory loss, and reproductive problems, to name a few.
Lead poisoning is not something you want to risk!
How does lead get into the water in the first place?
This video from USA Today illustrates the ways that lead can get into your water. It's a short video, but if you don't have time to watch it, I listed the main points below the video.
How can I tell if I have lead in my water?
You can't taste, smell, or see lead in the water.
The only way to know for sure if you have a problem is to have your water tested.
Most state governments have a link to find accredited laboratories for water testing. You could also ask your local utility if they provide testing services or if they can refer you to a local testing company.
There are also home test kits that you can buy from hardstore stores or online, if you want immediate answers.
One of the top selling test kits on the market is the First Alert WT1. You can check the current price and availability at Amazon by clicking here.
What is considered a safe level of lead in drinking water?
The answer is none. You don't want to have any lead in your water at all.
Here's another quote from the EPA:
EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goal for lead in drinking water at zero because lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. Lead is persistent, and it can bioaccumulate in the body over time.
Got that? When it comes to drinking water, there is no safe level of lead.
So, if you've determined that there is lead in your water, the obvious question is:
What can I do about it?
Does boiling water remove lead?
No, I'm afraid not.
In fact, boiling can increase the concentration of lead in the water!
How can I get rid of lead in my water?
Eliminating the source of the lead can be difficult, if not impossible, depending on your situation.
It may also be cost prohibitive if it means replacing all the water lines in your home.
But, there's hope!
The simplest solution - and the one that most people can afford - is to use a water filter that's certified to remove lead.
What are the best filters for removing lead from water?
In choosing a filter for lead, you'll want one that reduces lead by at least 99%.
There are several types of filters that will work, so you will be able to find one that meets your needs and your budget.
Here are some options to consider:
1. Best Gravity Filter for Removing Lead: ProOne Big+
Gravity water filters sit on your countertop, and most are made of stainless steel.
You have to refill them, but they can hold a lot of water, depending on which size you get. They utilize some sort of carbon filter, which is excellent for removing lead.
The brands that are best for filtering out lead are Berkey and ProOne (formerly Propur).
In my in-depth comparison of the most popular gravity filters, you can see that Berkey filters remove 99.9% of lead, and ProOne filters remove 100% of lead.
Read my detailed review of the ProOne Big+ gravity filter.
Read my detailed review of the Big Berkey gravity filter.
What's great about these brands is that you can put any kind of water in them except for salt water. That means they can be used in an emergency situation when there's no potable water.
So they're good for everyday use and as a survival filter.
Check the price of ProOne Big+ at Amazon or ProOne USA.
Check the price of Big Berkey at Amazon or Berkey Filters.
2. Best Reverse Osmosis System for Removing Lead: APEC RO-90
Most reverse osmosis filtration systems do a good job of taking lead out of your water, along with a whole host of other contaminants.
These systems have to be installed in your plumbing, and they take up space under your kitchen sink.
That could be a negative for you.
They also waste a lot of water. That's just the way reverse osmosis works. Contaminants are blocked by a membrane, and those contaminants have to be washed down the drain.
If you'd like to learn more about other reverse osmosis options, please see Best Reverse Osmosis Systems | Reviews & Ratings.
Check the price of the APEC RO-90 at Amazon.
3. Best Pitcher Water Filter for Removing Lead: Clearly Filtered
Pitcher type water filters sure have come a long way over the last few years! It used to be that they took chlorine out of your water, and that was about it.
Now there are quite a few that go way beyond that and can remove many of the worst pollutants.
Just remember - they're not all the same. You need to read the fine print to find out which filters work best on lead.
Check out my review of the best water filter pitchers for the details on my two favorites - Clearly Filtered and Aquagear - plus a few more. (Those two are great for removing lead, by the way.)
Read my detailed review of the Clearly Filtered pitcher.
Read my detailed review of the Aquagear pitcher.
Check the price of Clearly Filtered at Amazon or at Clearly Filtered.
Check the price of Aquagear at Aquagear. (Use code SAFEHEALTHYHOME for a 10% discount.)
4. Best Faucet Mount Filter for Removing Lead: PUR
Faucet mount filtration systems are inexpensive and convenient. There's no need to fill containers - just turn on the tap and you've got filtered water.
They tend to be limited in the contaminants they can remove, and not all of them are certified to take out lead. So, again, check the specifications before you buy.
A lot of people like these, but keep in mind that you can't use them with all kinds of faucets. They will only attach to standard type faucets, not the modern pull-out or pull-down faucets.
See my review of the best faucet water filters for more information.
Check the price of PUR at Amazon.
5. Best Distiller for Removing Lead: Megahome
Distillers aren't technically filters, but they are a good way to purify water. They eliminate many different contaminants, including lead.
The drawbacks with distillers are that they require electricity to function, and they are slow. If you need more than a gallon or two of water a day, you'll be better off going with some other method.
For more information about distillers in general plus my picks for this year's best distillers, see Best Home Water Distiller Options.
Check the price of Megahome at Amazon.
6. Best Under Sink Water Filter for Removing Lead: Clearly Filtered
These filters connect to your plumbing and fit under the kitchen sink, but they’re not reverse osmosis systems. That means they take up less space.
Some have separate faucets that you install, but others use your existing faucet. Either way, you get filtered water on demand with no waiting.
Most under sink filters use a carbon filter, often combined with some other type of filtration medium.
Many under sink water filters remove lead, but not all of them do. Again, be sure to do your research and buy one that is designed for maximum lead removal.
Two models that have excellent lead reduction are the Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filter and ProOne's ProMax FS10 Under Counter System (view at ProOne USA). They reduce lead by 99.9% and 99.3%, respectively.
See Hands On Review of the Clearly Filtered Under Sink Water Filter and Guide to Today’s Best Under Sink Water Filters for more information about under sink filters.
Check the price of Clearly Filtered at Amazon or at Clearly Filtered.
Check the price of ProOne FS10 at ProOne USA.
Do Brita pitcher filters remove lead?
The standard Brita filter that comes with the various pitchers and dispensers is not designed to remove lead. It reduces lead a little, but not enough to protect you from lead poisoning.
But don't throw out your Brita pitcher yet!
Brita has a new filter called the Longlast that reduces lead by up to 99%. If you already have a Brita pitcher, you can replace your current filter with a Longlast filter.
You can check the price and read the reviews of the Longlast replacement filter at Amazon right here.
And now there are several Brita models that come with the Longlast filter. Click here to see which ones are available at Amazon.
Conclusion: Which filter should I buy?
If you want to be sure that there's no lead in your drinking water, your safest bet is to use a filter like the ones you just read about.
In deciding which one to buy, you'll want to think about a few things:
- how many people are in your household and how many gallons of water per day you need
- the convenience factor - Are you willing to refill containers, or do you want to be able to just turn on the tap?
- your budget - the cost of the system and filter replacement*
*Remember that all of the systems will need to have their filter elements replaced every so often. You'll want to take that into consideration in calculating the cost.
There are plenty of options for you to choose from. So get on it and get one for yourself today. Your long term health might just depend on it!
If you need more help deciding which type of water filtration system will work best for you, see How to Choose the Best Water Filter for Your Home.
Last Updated on September 6, 2022
I try to help all that I can. My knowledge and skills allow me to teach others how to build what they need and understand it. I’ve taught workshops in Nicaragua on filters and purification. It’s not hard and not expensive. I’m hoping to get to Martin County, Kentucky to do a survey and help there. As engineers say, I can fix that. Yes, the situation can be fixed.