I’m just gonna start by saying that if Erin Brokovich has an AquaTru Water Purifier in her house – I have one in mine too. Here’s my honest, and thorough Review of AquaTru (Plus, $100 OFF!), and a comparison to Berkey Water Filters!
Why You Need a Water Filter
3 out of every 4 Americans have a known carcinogen in their tap water.
I never really thought about what was in our drinking water, until I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in my early 30’s. Like most, I just filtered it with a Britta for the taste – and prayed for the best! What I didn’t realize though was that while I was drinking filtered or bottled water, I was still cooking with tap water – and contaminants concentrate when cooked or boiled, they do not boil out.
At the time, I also believed our Water Supply was heavily regulated to keep us safe from harmful chemicals, and Cancer-causing contaminants, and way more filtered / tested than it actually is. Holy Shit, was I wrong!
Apparently, some of the Cancer-causing contaminants in my local water – are currently more than 243x’s over (yes, 243x’s OVER) the recommended health guideline limits! And, I had no idea that to reduce my risk, I could’ve been filtering them out with a better Water Filter.
If you remember the Erin Brokovich story – they found Chromium 6 in the tap water of more than 247 million Americans. Arsenic has been detected in the water of 107 million Americans. And, other common contaminants include things like: Chlorine, Chloramine, Trihalomethanes, Fluoride (intentionally added), Lead (from infrastructure), Jet Fuel, Drug Residue (Antibiotics + Birth Control), Forever Chemicals like PFAS + PFOAS, etc.
How to Find Out What’s in Your Water
To find out what’s in your own drinking water,head over to EWG’s Tap Water Database. Just enter your zip code, then, “view utility” (for city specific info). Or, click on your state (for more generalized state info).
The Environmental Working Group’s Drinking Water Quality Reports show results of tests conducted by local water utilities, provided to the EWG, by the of US Department of Environmental Protection, and the Compliance History database (ECHO).
FYI: anywhere you see those little “X’s” next to a number on your report – that means that particular contaminant is that many x’s over the legal limit!
Here’s what mine currently looks like, in New Jersey…
Tap Water Quality & Contamination
- The EPA’s Legal limits for tap water contaminants have not been updated in almost 20 years.
- Legal limits are not health-protective, as legal does not necessarily equal safe.
- A passing grade from the Government, doesn’t mean water meets the latest health guidelines.
- The best way to keep tap water clean, is to keep pollution out of source water in the first place.
The image above is my city water! When I first looked it up, I didn’t even have words! There were 12 Contaminants detected that exceed the EWG Health Guidelines, (and 29 Contaminants Total). But now, there are 15 detected that have exceed the Guidelines (and 34 Total Contaminants). Clearly, this problem is getting worse, instead of better.
And, don’t get me started on why absolutely no data has been provided since 2021 (the latest quarter assed for where I live, is January 2021 – March 2021) – it’s April 2023 as of the date of this post! How are we letting things like this happen in the US? I just don’t get it.
These were detected, but were not above the legal limits (still a problem though, because they just shouldn’t be there in the first place): 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 1,3-Butadiene, 1,4-Dioxane, 1-butanol, 2-methoxyethanol, 2-propen-1-ol, Alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane, Bromochloromethane, Bromomethane, Butylated hydroxyanisole, Chlorodifluoromethane, Chloromethane, Chlorpyriphos, Cobalt, Dimethipin, Ethoprop, Germanium, Molybdenum, Monochloroacetic acid, o-toluidine, Oxyflurofen, Perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS), Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHPA), Perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHXS), Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Permethrin, Profenofos, Quinoline, Tebuconazole, Tribufos.
Choosing The Best Water Filter
While there are tons of Water Filters out there, it’s important to know they all really rely on the same technology, and use either one, or a combo of the following…
- Carbon + Activated Carbon – Affordable, but effectiveness varies significantly at reducing common water contaminants like chlorine, or improving taste and odor. Comes in 2 Forms: Granulated Activated Carbon (Britta: cheapest / least effective), or Carbon Block (Berkey: more expensive / more effective / need to be replaced more often).
- Reverse Osmosis – (AquaTru) usually a little more pricey, typically includes one or more activated carbon + sediment filters, to remove / reduce a larger number of contaminants, like chlorine, trihalomethanes, VOCs, arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate, forever chemicals, glyphosate, etc. Drawbacks: they use five times more water than they produce for use, and remove minerals, which can be added back in with either mineral drops, or remineralization filters.
- Ion Exchange + Water Softeners – Reduce levels of calcium, magnesium, barium and radium, and replace with sodium which can build up in plumbing and fixtures, while other levels of contaminants remain unchanged. Not recommended for watering plants, gardening, or those on a low sodium diet.
- Distillation – Less common. Heats water enough to vaporize + condense the steam back into water. Removes minerals, bacteria and viruses, as well as some chemicals that have a higher boiling point than water. But, can’t remove chlorine, trihalomethanes or VOCs.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration
The most effective way to reduce exposure, is through a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter. It removes the largest amount of contaminants, as well as the most harmful ones.
Here’s How it works…
AquaTru Water Filter Review
When I started researching brands to buy, I wanted something that could at least remove Fluoride (neurotoxin), and Chlorine (if its disinfecting the water, it’s affecting our gut health). At the time, Berkey (which we previously had, more on that below) was the only company I could find. We later found AquaTru, which does all that, and so much more!
- Gold Standard in Water Purification!
- 4-Stage Ultra Reverse Osmosis Filtration
- Independently Tested & Certified to NSF / ANSI Standards to Remove 83 Contaminants!
- Most Affordable Home RO Water Filtration System
- No Installation or Plumbing for Countertop Systems
- Same RO Technology Used by Major Bottled Water Brands, at a Fraction of the Price!
- Eliminates Single-Use Plastic! 1 Set of Filters is = to 4,500 Plastic Water Bottles.
- Certified to Remove 15x’s More Contaminants Than the Leading Pitcher Water Filters.
Which AquaTru System is the Best?
All of their Water Puifiers have the ability to filter out all 83 contaminants, regardless of size.
- AquaTru Countertop Classic (my favorite!) – Tap Water Tank Holds 1 Gallon / Filtered Water Tank holds 3 Quarts of Purified Water. Tastes smooth and clean, like water should. We’ve had this one for almost 5 years, and are still loving it! It’s truly the best one out there, although there are a few things I wish I could change. Having to fill it often is a pain, but you get used to it. Emptying and refilling as soon as a new tank is purified, is the best way to always have water ready to go, since it starts filtering as soon as you dispense any water. The shape is a little awkward (wish it were squared off), and I wish it came with a matching white adapter (comes with a black one, visible, if pulled to edge of countertop). And, I of course wish they had larger, glass tanks. But, 1. I probably wouldn’t be able to lift / fill without spilling them, ha! And, 2. I feel little better knowing that AquaTru uses the same BPA & BPS-free Tritan plastic that’s used in best-selling food blenders like Vitamix. Tritan has been tested at universities and independent third-party labs, to be safe, and free of estrogenic, and androgenic activity. You can always transfer the purified water to glass, once it’s done filtering.
- AquaTru Connect (don’t recommend) – Connects to wifi via the AquaTru Smart App, which has water quality sensors to detect the levels of Total Dissolved Solids, giving precise info about filter usage, water consumption, plastic water bottles, and money saved, sends notifications, maintenance reminders, etc. Personally, I don’t want wifi running through my water, don’t need another app, and just don’t want to be that connected.
- AquaTru Under the Sink (don’t recommend / unpopular opinion) – I hate writing negative reviews, especially about a company who sells so many life-changing products (many of which I love), because I don’t want it to deter you from buying any of their other amazing products. But, I want you to be able to make an informed decision about your health. Long story short: we were so excited when these came out, because we go through so much water in our house! Plumber had issues with standard parts not fitting, had to special order, and come back to finish install. Loved it for about a month (worked great, tasted great, looked great in kitchen, so much easier to use), then came unbearable GI issues. I’m talking severe swelly-belly. Did some research, came across an interview with Robert Slovak, an early pioneer of RO water technology (who’s favorite water purifier is also AquaTru, BTW), where he discussed the dangers of undersink RO water purifiers, specifically. Stating that, closed systems can harbor bacteria, and are really difficult / if not impossible to clean, which can severely affect your gut microbiome if not sanitized properly. Keep in mind, he sells every single one of AquaTru’s other products on his site, except this model (which tells me everything I needed to know). Now, although this one has the TruPure RO Sanitizer (to try to prevent that), it didn’t seem to help, in our case. So, we ultimately uninstalled it, and, went back to the AquaTru Countertop Classic, which was disappointing.
- AquaTru Carafe (haven’t tried yet) – smallest model, with Borosilicate Glass Pitcher (holds 1/2 Gallon of purified water). Perfect for travel, dorm rooms, apartments, the elderly. Pitcher can be taken out, and put in the fridge. FYI: filters aren’t interchangeable with the other Countertop models. While I don’t have this one, I love the design, and the smaller footprint.
AquaTru Filters & Filter Life
When you buy an AquaTru, it automatically comes with the first set of filters. Their filters also have a really great life (lasting from 6 months to 2 years, depending of the filter). And, they’re easy to change! There’s an indicator light on the front of the unit, that tells you which filter to change when, and the instructions are on the inside panel, which is nice. Afterwards, you just run 4 clean tanks of water through, and you’re good to go!
If you go on vacay, just turn off, wash tanks, and purge the system by running 4 tanks through. If filters are unused for 3 months+, they’ll need to be changed.
For the best discounts, purchase these in a bundle, or the 2-year combo packs, so you have them when you need them!
- Filters 1-2 (Pre-Filter/Carbon Filter) – Pre-Filter removes larger particles like sediment and rust. Activated Carbon Filter removes Chlorine. Lasts 6 months / 600 gallons (Classic, Connect, + Under Sink), or 6 months / 300 gallons (Carafe).
- Filter 3 (RO Filter) – Ultrafine Reverse Osmosis Filter membrane purifies out dangerous inorganic chemicals, including lead, chromium 6, arsenic, nitrates + many more. Lasts 2 years / 1,200 gallons (Classic, Connect, + Under Sink), or 2 years / 600 gallons (Carafe)
- Filter 4 (VOC Carbon Filter) – Activated Coconut Block VOC Filter removes volatile organic compounds like PFAS, rocket fuel, prescription drug residue, leaving you great tasting water. Lasts 1 year / 600 gallons (Classic + Connect), 6 months / 300 gallons (Carafe). Classic pH + Mineral Boost Alkaline Filters have the same Filter Life. Under sink units have a lower gallon life as an extra safety measure, lasting for only 360 gallons.
AquaTru Cleaning & Maintenance
We use dish soap and a sponge, once a week (I usually put a reminder in my phone to remember). You also may also have to descale your system about once a year too – depending on how hard your water is. Or, if it doesn’t filter as quickly as usual. Descaling can be a little bit of a process, but they sell Descaling Kits. FYI: Do not use vinegar, it will ruin the tanks.
Adding Minerals Back Into Reverse Osmosis Water
Minerals can be added back into Reverse Osmosis Water by either adding them to the purified water tank (in front), or to individual drinks, etc. – which is what we do. I like Trace Minerals Concentrace, LyteTrace, or AquaTru’s Perfect Minerals. Or, you can even add a pinch of Redmond Real Salt. AquaTru also has a Mineral Boost Alkaline ph Filter, which adds the minerals back in automatically, but the water tastes a little different than the regular VOC Filter does. For some reason, my body isn’t a fan of alkaline water, so I opt for the drops.
AquaTru vs. Berkey Water Filters
Incase you’re torn between a Berkey and an AquaTru, here’s the best way to think about it – Berkey is best in situations if you don’t have any power, or like to go camping. etc. In my opinion, while it’s still a great water filter – it’s not nearly as efficient at filtering stuff out, as AquaTru is.
We originally had the BIG Berkey, and thought (at the time), that the taste, and water quality was better than what we had. And, their Customer Service was amazing. We also loved that it didn’t require any electricity!
There were several downsides for us though: 1. we could never tell how full it was, until we bought the Water View Spigot (which we felt it should have come with it, instead of having to buy separately). 2. It was too tall to fit on our countertops without hitting the top cabinets (knob on lid was the issue). 3. Maintaining, cleaning, changing, and priming the filters was a gigantic pain in the ass! We dreaded it. 4. We found a tiny rust spot on the inside of the Clean Water Container, and they immediately sent us a replacement, which was great. Other than that, it was pretty easy to use, clean, wipe off, on the daily. But, eventually we wanted to find something better. So, when I heard Erin Brokovich (ummm, hello?!), and the EWG were talking about AquaTru, we jumped right on it… and, haven’t looked back!
FYI: AquaTru is owned by the same company that also owns some of my other favorite wellness tech brands, like: Air Doctor (my favorite Air Purifiers – $300 OFF!), and AromaTru (my favorite Waterless Aromatherapy Diffusers – $60 OFF!). So, definitely check them out!